Monday, September 18, 2006

Same sex marriages in South Africa

I recently got this email about same sex marriages in South Africa. If you are interested in signing their petition or participating in any other way, contact details are provided at the end of the email:

Dear Colleagues and Supporters,

Parliament has tabled a draft Civil Union Bill, which intends to grant same sex couples the right to form a 'civil partnership'. Although the same legal benefits would be accorded same sex couples, the state would not recognize these partnerships as marriage. As such, same sex couples would still be excluded from choosing to marry, through the existing Marriage Act. Instead, civil partnerships would be regulated through a separate legal institution and administered separately.

This would relegate same sex couples to a second class citizenry and perpetuate the stigmatization of our relationships. In effect, it would entrench the prejudice of some, which dictates that our relationships deserve a lower social status. And, as the Department of Home Affairs has stated, the Marriage Act "will not be tampered with". What is also worrying is that the State Legal Advisor has not signed of on the current version of the Bill as they have expressed concerns about its constitutionality on various grounds.

We do, however, commend the section of the Bill that pertains to domestic partnerships in that it extends legal protections to both heterosexual and homosexual couples who are unmarried.

Make your voice heard on this important matter, which tests our nation's commitment to the Constitution, and the principles of equality and human dignity for all.

1. Sign onto the petition in support of a change to the existing Marriage Act and against a new, separate act for same sex couples only.

2. Write letters to the press.

3. Join in the public participation process by participating in the public hearings, which will be held in all provinces, culminating in parliamentary deliberations on the 12-13 October. The details for the public hearings will be published in the local press shortly, and we will keep you updated.

4. Write to parliament. Parliament will be calling for written submissions on same sex marriage. You can write a submission, either personally or as an organisation. It doesn't matter how long or short it is, each one will help. We will send through details of the submission process once these have been released. For more information on the parliamentary process contact the Secretary of Home Affairs Portfolio Committee - Mr. Mathibela Mankge - at + 27 (0)21 4033826.

We will, in due course, be sending our fact sheets on the proposed Bill.

Please post this email onto your website, and forward it to other interested

Yours, in solidarity,
OUT LGBT Well-being

For more information contact Fikile Vilakazi, Melanie Judge or Dawie Nel, on
+ 27 (0)12 3445108.

OUT LGBT Well-being
Tel : + 27 (0)12 344 6501
Fax : + 27 (0)12 344 6501
Cell : 083 2712543
E-mail :


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