What are the differences between marriages and registered partnerships?
By default, a separation of property applies for registered partnerships, which means that if a partnership ends, there are no joint assets that will be divided up. By contrast, for married couples the joint ownership of acquired property applies. This means that if a spouse dies or the couple separates, both partners receive half of the assets that have been jointly accrued during the course of the marriage. Even with married couples, however, it is often necessary to have additional regulations to ensure that the surviving partner is financially secure.
For married lesbian couples, the surviving partner will receive an OASI survivors’ pension if she is at least 45 years old and they had been married for at least five years. By contrast, in a registered partnership she would only receive a pension if, and for as long as she has a child under the age of 18.
Married lesbian couples will also have access to sperm banks. For gay couples, a foreign spouse of a Swiss man or woman will be eligible for simplified naturalisation.