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Same-sex partnership in South Africa

November 14, 2006 6:26 PM
South Africa flag

South Africa flag

Today the South African parliament passed the Civil Union bill by 230 votes to 41. This makes it the first country in Africa to legalise same-sex weddings, in a move which follows a ruling by their Constitutional Court last year that the existing laws discriminated against same-sex couples.

DELGA Chair Jen Yockney commented, "What is most inspiring in this news is that the African National Congress party whipped all their MPs to vote for the bill, in the face of opposition of church and traditional leaders. If only our Labour government had the same courage in the face of religious groups when enacting the legislation stopping discrimination in goods and services - which we are still waiting to have put into force as Labour kowtows to the religious lobby."

The new South African civil union law is similar to our civil partnership law in the UK, as it provides for the "voluntary union of two persons, which is solemnised and registered by either a marriage or civil union" rather than extending marriage laws to cover same-sex couples.