A reader writes:
Switzerland's laudable reluctance to invade countries that have not attacked it may have given the country a progressive image that it does not deserve. The decision to ban minarets does not seem quite so freakishly backward when compared with Switzerland's track record on women's suffrage. A few highlights:
- In 1959, 67% of Swiss men voted no on a national referendum on women's right to vote, with 31% voting yes.
- In 1966, Basel-City became the first Swiss canton to allow women to vote.
- In 1971, women's right to vote in national elections was finally accepted by Swiss men in another referendum, 66% to 34%.
- Most cantons introduced women's suffrage shortly before or shortly after the 1971 national referendum. However, two cantons still did not allow women to vote in 1989! (a Federal Supreme Court decision ended that in 1990).
On the other hand, in 2005, Switzerland became the first nation to pass a same-sex union law by referendum, with 58% of voters approving a partnership law that grants same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual marriage, except for adoption and fertility treatments. So maybe the Swiss aren't so much backward, or progressive, but rather . . . complicated.
Sort of like us.
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