By an almost two-to-one vote met with ringing approval by pro-LGBT groups, the National Council of Switzerland voted this month on a measure to criminalize “homophobia” and “discrimination.”
The National Council, which is the lower house of the country’s bicameral legislature, voted 118-60 in favor of national councilor Mathias Reynard’s initiative, the Swiss newspaper Le Temps reports. Five members abstained from the vote.
The country’s Criminal Code currently bans “incitement to hatred or discrimination against a person or group of persons on the basis of their ‘racial, ethnic or religious’ affiliation,” the paper explains, punishable by a fine or up to three years in prison. Reynard’s proposal would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to that list.
“Homophobia is not an opinion,” Reynard declares. “It’s a crime. One in five homosexuals attempted suicide, half before the age of 20. This victory sends a strong signal.” Organizations such as Pink Cross and websites such as PinkNews are celebrating his victory.
In an interview with ShortList published last week, the heterosexual Reynard said he was driven to act by LGBT friends who have suffered from “verbal” homophobic violence in addition to physical attacks, and the discovery that “Swiss case-law doesn’t punish either hate speech or incitement to hatred towards LGBT+ people.”
Councilor Yves Nidegger challenged the measure, however. He warned that the categories being criminalized are “legally problematic and indefinable” and questioning whether “pedophilia, bisexuality, gerontophilia, necrophilia, fetishism, zoophilia, and so on – creativity in this area being inexhaustible – are sexual orientations that must be protected or not protected.”
Notably, this crackdown on so-called “hate speech” critical of homosexuality or transgenderism precedes same-sex “marriage” in Switzerland. Homosexual unions aren’t currently recognized, but Reynard says he wants to tackle that fight next.
26 countries around the world currently recognize same-sex “marriages,” including 21 of the European Union’s 28 member states. The United Kingdom has similar laws on the books against “hate,” something the United Nations has attempted to pressure other nations into adopting.
Switzerland’s change still has to be approved by the country’s Council of States in December before taking effect.
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