The Federal Registered Partnerships Act enables homosexual couples to formalise their relationship in law. The new Act entered into force on 1 January 2007.
Registered partnerships are certificated by a registry office and form the basis of a life partnership with mutual rights and obligations. The two partners must support and respect each other, and must work together to maintain their household.
Registering a partnership does not affect the partners' legal surnames. As an expression of solidarity, the couple may use a joint surname in their everyday lives, i.e. they may choose to hyphenate their two surnames. This is not an official name that is entered in the register of births, marriages and deaths, however.
Similarly, the partners retain the citizenships attached to their municipalities and cantons of origin even after their partnership has been registered. The partner of a Swiss citizen is also entitled to a residence permit from the Swiss immigration authorities.
In some key areas, such as inheritance, social insurance and occupational pension schemes, homosexual couples living in registered partnerships have the same rights and obligations as heterosexual married couples. Unless otherwise agreed, however, each partner retains the right of disposal over their own assets.
Homosexual couples are not permitted to adopt children, nor may they benefit from medically assisted reproduction technologies, such as IVF.
For complete documentation, please refer to the pages in German, French or Italian.