Swiss same-sex marriages to begin in July

Same-sex couples will legally be able to wed in Switzerland beginning on July 1, according to The Associated Press.

Switzerland's Federal Council also said that the government will recognize same-sex couples' marriages outside of Switzerland beginning on Jan. 1 instead of treating them as "civil partnerships," the AP reports. 

Couples who are already in civil partnerships reportedly will be permitted to remain in them if they so choose. 

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Switzerland is one of the only countries in Western Europe that does not currently acknowledge same-sex marriages, the AP noted. 

The developments come after almost two-thirds of Swiss voters approved the legalization of same-sex marriages in September.

The legislation also allows same-sex couples to legally adopt children and permits lesbian couples to have children via sperm donation.

In addition, the measure gives a foreign spouse the ability to apply for Swiss citizenship when marrying a same-sex Swiss resident. 

The Swiss Civil Code will also reportedly see a change in language from “bride” and “groom” to “the engaged” or “two people" under the new legislation.

The legalization did face some opposition by Switzerland's right wing, the AP notes.

"Children and fathers are the losers here," a member of a leading right-wing party in the country said at the time of the vote.

Before the referendum, thousands of people marched in Switzerland to express support for same-sex marriage, and a poll taken last year showed that more than 80 percent of Swiss citizens approved of same-sex marriage.