Thursday, December 01, 2005

Same-Sex Marriage Coming to South Africa

(Link) A lesbian couple challenges the definition of common law marriage and voila! South Africa joins other enlightened nations in legally recognizing the bond between "wife and spouse".

1 comment:

LNewsEditor said...

JIC Post:
From SABC News

Gay and lesbian organisations have welcomed the Constitutional Court's judgement that orders Parliament to make amendments to legislation in order to recognise same-sex marriages. The judgement follows a challenge brought by Marie Fourie and Cecelia Bonthuys, a Pretoria couple, against the common-law definition of marriage and the wording of the Marriage Act.

Gays and lesbians will have to wait 12 months before they can legally be able to tie the knot. When passing judgement Justice Albie Sachs says that these laws fail to accord gay and lesbian couples the same rights that married heterosexuals enjoy.

The court gave Parliament one year to rework laws allowing same sex unions. If Parliament cannot do this in a year, the Marriage Act would be rewritten. The Act will include the words "or spouse" after "husband or wife to allow these unions to take place.

Bitter sweet victory
Gay and lesbian groups have welcome the court's decision but are angered by the 12 months waiting period. At the moment same sex couples continue to get married but their unions are not recognised by law.

"Why wait 12 months?," asked Thuli Madi, from the lesbian and gay rights groups, Behind the Mask. "If Parliament does not do anything in 12 months, we can marry anyway, so why not make it effective now?" - Additional reporting by Sapa