Plans for new civil partnership to give Swiss couples additional rights
A parliamentary initiative to create a new civil partnership system has been submitted in Bern. The goal is to create a binding civil agreement so that couples who cohabit can have similar rights to those who are married, without having to tie the knot.
Civil partnerships debated by Swiss parliament
The new “civil solidarity pact” or Pacs was submitted to parliament by State Councillor Andrea Caroni and has the support of all Swiss political parties with the exception of the Green Liberals. The aim of the reform is to introduce a form of “enhanced concubinage” - designed for all couples who want to make their relationship official and binding, but do not want to get married.
Caroni believes the idea will appeal to younger people who are getting together for the first time and do not know whether their relationship will last. He also hopes it will be beneficial for elderly people who do not wish to remarry.
Pacs relationships would be given similar rights to married couples
Those in a Pacs relationship would likely be given common housing rights, the right to visit each other in hospital, joint-filling on Swiss taxes, and most other cantonal rights given to married couples. “It is for couples who want to make life easier for each other with respect to third parties,” Caroni told Watson, but conceded that it would be ultimately up to parliament to determine what benefits to grant Pacs couples.
When asked whether this would undermine civil marriage in Switzerland, Caroni said he considered the idea a better form of cohabitation rather than a “discounted” marriage. “We will have to be very transparent about the difference between Pacs and marriage, to prevent people from believing that it is the same thing… I simply want to offer freedom of choice to people. If marriage declines, it is due to the will of individuals. But I'm sure marriage still matters.” he said.