Consultation: “Equal Opportunities for All Families”

Submitted by The Swiss Rainbow Families Association

Press Release

Zurich/Bern, 29 November 2013

“Equal Opportunities for All Families”
The Swiss umbrella organisations Rainbow Families Association, LOS (lesbian organisation), Pink Cross (gay organisation), Transgender Network Switzerland, LGBT Youth Schweiz, along with the LGBT organisations Imbarco Immediato, Fédération genevoise des associations LGBT, fels, Wybernet and Network Gay Leadership, welcome the start of the consultation process leading to the protection of rainbow families.

Today, the Justice Department presented a draft bill aimed at protecting several thousand children growing up in rainbow families (families where at least one parent self-identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans*) in Switzerland.

The Swiss LGBT umbrella organisations welcome the start of the consultation process, which will eliminate – at least to some extent – the current discrimination. In most cases, children in rainbow families grow up with two parents, but the law recognises only one of them. Until now, these children were effectively denied their second legal parent due simply to their parents’ sexual orientation. The Federal Council and Parliament have decided to remedy this deplorable state of affairs.

Legal protection for children in rainbow families

The amendment of the law specifically aims at allowing a person to adopt his or her partner’s child, provided the second biological parent is unknown or deceased or has agreed to transfer his or her rights and obligations, and provided adoption represents the best option for the welfare of the child. Adoption bestows full parenting rights.

The new legal provision will, for example, ensure that children growing up in rainbow families will be able to remain with their second parent in the event of the biological parent’s death. In the event of the second legal parent’s death, they have a claim to an inheritance as well as to orphan’s benefits. Furthermore, the new law will ensure that they can maintain contact with their second legal parent in case of a separation and that they have a legal claim to child support. It will, in short, put these children on an equal legal footing as all other children.

From the point of view of the child’s welfare, the current adoption ban is untenable, since children growing up with same-sex-loving parents do well. The deciding factor for a child’s well-being is the quality of the relationship and the climate in the family as well as the availability of (at least) one constant attachment figure who provides emotional warmth and stability, creates a supportive social environment and supports the child in his or her individual development. As long as these conditions are met, it is irrelevant whether the child grows up in a traditional, a single-parent or a rainbow family – developmental psychologists as well as numerous scientific studies from over 25 years of research on rainbow families confirm this.

There is further need for action

The Rainbow Families Association and the Swiss LGBT umbrella organisations welcome this long-overdue step towards protecting rainbow families. Nevertheless, more needs to be done, because second-parent adoption represents only a partial albeit important improvement of their legal situation. When all is said and done, only full marriage equality will provide complete equality for rainbow families and LGBTs in all aspects of daily life.

Additional Information:

Maria von Känel, 079 611 06 71 (German)

General Manager, Swiss Rainbow Families Association

Karin Hochl, 079 283 76 06 (German, English)

lic. iur. HSG, solicitor, legal expert for the Swiss Rainbow Families Association

Martin della Valle, 079 818 98 87 (German, English)

Co-President, Swiss Rainbow Families Association

Chatty Ecoffey, 079 416 20 57 (French)

Co-President, Swiss Rainbow Families Association

Barbara Konrad, 076 556 76 38 (French)

Board Member, Swiss Rainbow Families Association

Fritz Lehre, 079 209 37 17 (German, English)

President, Verein fels (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays)

Susan Tagliabue, 078 698 38 65
Member, Imbarco Immediato (Allemand, Italien)

Barbara Lanthemann, 031 382 02 22 (French, German)
General Manager, Swiss Lesbian Organisation LOS

Alicia Parel, 079 796 28 67 (French, German)

General Manager, Pink Cross

Sandra Tichy, 079 789 53 76 (German, Italian, English, French)

Board Member, Transgender Network Switzerland

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