"The vote in favor of increasing rights for same-sex partnerships means that registered same-sex couples will be receive the same tax and pension status as married couples. But they will not be allowed to adopt children or undergo fertility treatment.
It is the first national vote in Europe on such an issue, although other countries, such as Germany, have passed laws allowing registration of same-sex couples."
It is interesting to see how coverage of the Swiss referenda differs in the US and in Europe. In the US, where same-sex unions and/or marriage equality are a hot-button political issue, coverage focuses on the civil unions referendum. In a Europe still trying to digest and understand the recent French and Dutch popular rejections of the proposed European constitution, the Swiss electoral story leads with a different referendum -- in which the Swiss electorate (with a smaller majority than that which approved civil unions) voted to join the passport-free zone of the European Union. Interestingly, among US papers, the report of the Swiss vote published in The Los Angeles Times (in a state that on Friday defeated legislation by a single vote that would have established full civil marriage for gay men and lesbians) echoes the European emphasis.