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Switzerland: Abolition of Marriage Tax Penalty Proposed

(Apr. 5, 2018) On March 21, 2018, the Swiss Federal Council (the Swiss government) adopted a legislative proposal to abolish the “marriage tax penalty” (marriage penalty). The proposal is designed to resolve the decades-long controversy surrounding the issue. (Swiss Federal Council, Botschaft zur Änderung des Bundesgesetzes über die direkte Bundessteuer (Ausgewogene Paar- und Familienbesteuerung) [Message […]

Switzerland: Voters Reject Proposal to Abolish Public Broadcasting Fees

(Mar. 7, 2018) On March 4, 2018, Swiss voters rejected by a vote of 71.6% to 28.4% a popular initiative to abolish public broadcasting fees. Voter turnout was 54.4%. (Vorlage Nr. 617. Vorläufige amtliche Endergebnisse. Volksinitiative vom 11.12.2015 “Ja zur Abschaffung der Radio- und Fernsehgebühren (Abschaffung der Billag-Gebühren)” [Proposal No. 617, Preliminary Official Results: Popular […]

Switzerland: Revision of Adoption Law Enters into Force

(Jan. 4, 2018) On January 1, 2018, a revision of the Swiss adoption law entered into force. The amendment of the Civil Code allows stepchild adoption for same-sex registered partners and couples in a de facto marriage (cohabitation), lowers the minimum age for persons eligible to adopt, introduces a maximum age difference between adopted child […]

Switzerland: Referendum on Burqa and Niqab Ban Will Go to a Vote

(Oct. 24, 2017) On October 11, 2017, the Swiss Government announced that a proposed referendum on a ban of the full body and face veil (burqa) and the face veil (niqab) had achieved the required 100,000 number of signatures to be put to a vote. (Eidgenössische Volksinitiative, “Ja zum Verhüllungsverbot” [Swiss Federal Popular Initiative, “Yes […]

Switzerland: Upper House of Parliament Rejects Burqa and Niqab Ban

(Mar. 15, 2017) On March 9, 2017, the Swiss Council of States (upper house of Parliament) rejected by a vote of 26 to 9, with 4 abstentions, a parliamentary initiative to ban the full body and face veil (burqa) and the face veil (niqab) and amend the Swiss Constitution accordingly.  The Council of States is […]

ECtHR/Switzerland: Compulsory Co-Ed Swim Classes Do Not Infringe Freedom of Religion

(Jan. 24, 2017) On January 10, 2017, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) held unanimously that a decision of the Swiss Federal Supreme Court, which upheld an administrative fine for the refusal of Muslim parents to send their 9- and 11-year-old daughters to compulsory co-ed swim lessons as part of their schooling, did not […]

Switzerland: Accelerated Nuclear Energy Exit Rejected

(Nov. 30, 2016) On November 27, 2016, Swiss voters rejected by a vote of 54.2% to 45.8% the Nuclear Energy Withdrawal Initiative. (Vorlage Nr. 608, Vorläufige amtliche Endergebnisse [Proposal No. 608, Preliminary Official Results], Swiss Federal Chancellery website (Nov. 27, 2016).) The initiative would have accelerated Switzerland’s exit from nuclear energy use, with three plants closing in 2017, […]

Switzerland: Rejection of Abolishment of Marriage Tax Penalty and Constitutional Definition of Marriage

(Mar. 11, 2016) On February 28, 2016, Swiss voters rejected by a narrow vote of 50.8% to 49.2% a referendum to abolish the marriage tax penalty in Swiss law. (Vorlage Nr. 596, Vorläufige amtliche Endergebnisse [Initiative No. 596, Preliminary Official Results], Schweizerische Bundeskanzlei [Swiss Federal Chancellery] website (Feb. 28, 2016).) The “marriage penalty” refers to tax provisions […]

Switzerland: Extended Deportation of Criminal Foreigners Rejected

(Mar. 7, 2016) On February 28, 2016, Swiss voters rejected by a vote of 58.9% to 41.1% the “Enforcement Initiative.” The initiative proposed the automatic deportation of foreigners who committed certain crimes, regardless of the imposed penalty. Foreigners are defined as persons who do not hold Swiss passports. (Volksinitiative “Zur Durchsetzung der Ausschaffung krimineller Ausländer“ […]