Crucial anti-homophobia laws voted

Swiss voters headed to the polls today as the conservative country holds a referendum on whether to introduce laws to protect LGBTIs from discrimination.

Discrimination against race, ethnicity or religion is already illegal in Switzerland, but unlike many of its western European neighbours it does not extend these protections towards sexual orientation.

This ‘legal loophole’ means privately-funded organisations are free to discriminate against LGBTIs on the basis of religion, as was the case with a daycare centre which recently rejected a same-sex couple and their twin boys.

The proposed legislation has the backing of the government as well as the majority of the Swiss population, with early exit polls suggesting that 62 per cent have voted in favour of the reform.

But there is strong opposition from right-wing and religious groups who argue that it infringes upon their free speech.