South Africa parliament set to approve same-sex partnership bill

[JURIST] South Africa's cabinet on Thursday sent a civil unions bill to the parliament that would place same-sex partnerships on equal footing with traditional marriages. The parliament is expected to approve the bill, which was mandated by a December 2005 ruling [judgment,PDF; summary] of the South African Constitutional Court [official website] holding that the 1961 Marriage Act [1997 extension text, PDF] prohibition against same-sex marriages violates the South African Constitution [text]. The Constitutional Court set a December 1 deadline [JURIST report] for the laws to be changed. Last week, a spokesperson for the South African Parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs [official website] announced opposition to a constitutional amendment [JURIST report] authorizing same-sex marriages, but indicated that parliament is ready to approve the bill.

Canada, Belgium, Spain, and the Netherlands are the only nations that currently recognize full same-sex marriages [JURIST news archive]. The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) [official website] announced dismay at the cabinet's approval of the bill, which would make South Africa the first African country to endorse same-sex partnerships, and has called for a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman. Reuters has more. The Advocate has additional coverage.



 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.