Another call for “marriage equality” – this time a reasonable one. The background of the Swiss popular initiative on marriage

While it clearly defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman (which is the only type of marriage the state can have an interest in), the rationale of the Swiss popular initiative on marriage is not so much to fend off attempts to re-define marriage, but to set an end to the absurd fiscal discrimination of married couples.

As all reasonable people are aware, the main reason for the state to legally recognize marriage is that it produces offspring and thus lays the basis for the continuation of the existence of society. The raising of children is an important investment into the future that yields benefits for all, including those who are not married and have no children.And the best for children is being raised in a stable family by their own parents.

It is therefore reasonable that the state should encourage its citizens to found stable families, and to support them e.g. through tax benefits. But, rather absurdly, this is not what appears to be the case in Switzerland (or at least in some Swiss cantons), where married couples are taxed higher than if they were not married. In other words, there is a “negative reward” for couples who marry…

This is illustrated by the following examples:

CH taxesThis situation is a glaring absurdity. But even more absurd is the fact that the Swiss Federal Assembly, rather than acting on its own initiative to set an end to this discrimination, has adopted a vote to advise citizens that they should not support the “popular initiative to stop punishing marriage”.  Party politics seem to have prevailed over even the most basic concern for justice and the common good.

The popular initiative has been launched by the Schweizerische Volkspartei (SVP), a conservative political party headed by selfmade-millionaire Christoph Blocher. Often dubbed as “populist” by its adversaries, the SVP has in the past been very successful in using citizens’ initiatives such as this to impose change on an unwilling and intellectually inert political establishment.

The date for the referendum has not yet been fixed.