Did you know that in Switzerland, the people in the town you live in can determine whether or not you become a Swiss citizen?

This is exactly what the townspeople of Gipf-Oberfrick did when they denied Swiss citizenship to a woman for the second time because of her vegan beliefs.

Nancy Holten, a 42-year-old who has lived in Switzerland since she was 8, had been turned down for citizenship by the residents committee for what she believes were her views and how she has gone about expressing those views.

Holten, who has children with Swiss citizenship, has publicly opposed cowbells and church bells ringing, saying it hurts the animals hearing. She has also opposed hunting and piglet racing in the area, all causing media and TV attention to this small Swiss town, whose residents prefer not to have that attention.

Holten claimed that she felt she wasn’t granted citizenship because “I think I was too strident and spoke my mind too often.”

Local administrator Urs Treier, somewhat agreed with Holten’s theory. Treier claimed that the reason Holten’s citizenship wasn’t approved wasn’t because of her beliefs, it was “because she had campaigned so publicly.”

“The voters of Gipf-Oberfrick know that the legal requirements for naturalization are met and they know that even people who want to be naturalized in Switzerland may have different ideological opinions. 
“The reason why they have yet again clearly rejected the naturalization is that Nancy Holten very often expresses her personal opinion in the media, and also gathers media coverage for rebelling against traditional [Swiss] things within the village.”

I’m not here to cast judgment on somebody’s vegan beliefs or Swiss law but this seems like a strange way to determine whether or not someone becomes a citizen. I can understand that the residents didn’t want unwanted attention but the line between that and just simply not letting someone be a citizen because of differing beliefs looks a bit blurred. Especially when Holten passed the necessary requirements to become a citizen in the first place.

Thankfully, this law that could easily be used for all the wrong reasons, hasn’t made its way to the United States…yet.

[The Local]

About Phillip Bupp

Producer/editor of the Awful Announcing Podcast and Short and to the Point. News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. Highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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