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First same-sex
union celebrated in Switzerland

First same-sex
union celebrated in Switzerland

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Two men have become the first couple in Switzerland to join in a same-sex union, following a recent change in the law.

Two men, ages 89 and 60, have become the first couple in Switzerland to join in a same-sex union. A new law recognizing such unions was passed in 2005 and came into effect January 1. The men, who wish to remain anonymous, registered their partnership on Tuesday in Locarno in the southern Swiss state of Ticino. The two have been together for about 30 years. "It was very moving. At some point I think we all had tears in our eyes," said Donatella Zappa, a witness at the ceremony. Zappa, who is also a member of the gay rights group Associazione Imbarco Immediato ("On Board Now"), said the event marked "the beginning of a new period. The law enables same-sex couples to have the rights every individual should enjoy." The new law, which was approved by a popular referendum, does not allow marriage between two people of the same sex but ensures that gay unions have legal standing similar to marriage. Same-sex couples will receive the same tax and pension status as married couples but will not be allowed to adopt children or undergo fertility treatment. More same-sex couples are now lining up to tie the knot. "The fact that there are couples who have made their union legal and official will serve as a model," Zappa said. (AP)

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