Politician compares being gay to using cocaine

As Switzerland debates allowing gay and lesbian couples to adopt, a leading politician has caused outrage by comparing homosexuality to drug use.

Last week the legal committee of the Council of States voted in favour of changing the law to make it easier for gay and lesbian couples to adopt. A single person can adopt regardless of sexual orientation, but same-sex couples cannot adopt nor can one partner adopt the other’s biological child.

Christophe Darbellay, head of the center-right Christian Democrats (CVP) opposes any change, however, and compared homosexuality to drug use in newspaper interview:

“I wouldn’t suddenly legalise cocaine just because half a million people consume it,” he told Le Temps newspaper.

Gay groups have vociferously responded to the comments. The Association for Rainbow Families said that it was “insulting” for Darbellay to “compare same-sex parents with cocaine addicts.”

“His homophobia shocks us,” co-president Chatty Ecoffey said.

Meanwhile, Barbara Lanthemann of the Swiss lesbian organization LOS said “Darbellay is comparing two things that are simply not comparable”.

The politician defended his comments, however, saying: “I didn’t want to insult anyone. I simply wanted to say that just because something exists, does not mean that it has to be legalised”.

The Council of States commission said last week that adults should be able to adopt regardless of their marital status or sexual orientation, as long as that was the best solution for the child.

A change in the law would require the approval of both the Council of States and the larger lower house, the National Council, which has already rejected a petition demanding equal adoption rights for gay and lesbian couples.

Date: 23 November 2011


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