LISTEN | Civil Union Amendment Bill passed into law

30 October 2020 - 18:01
State marriage officers and magistrates are now prohibited from refusing to solemnise a civil union between same-sex couples.
State marriage officers and magistrates are now prohibited from refusing to solemnise a civil union between same-sex couples.
Image: dolgachov/123RF

On October 22, the Civil Union Amendment Act 8 of 2020 came into force.

This brings a much-needed change that the LGBTQ+ community has been advocating for since 2006, when SA became the first country in Africa and the fifth in the world to legalise civil unions between people of the same sex.  

Lwando Scott, who is a Next Generation scholar at the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape, explained the change this new amendment will bring.

“The Civil Union Amendment Bill was important in that before this amendment bill, people who worked at home affairs had the option to opt out of facilitating same-sex marriages on the basis of religion, or any other reason that they provided. Now that is no longer the case,” said Scott.

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Non-profit organisation OUT LBGT Well-being welcomed the signing of this bill by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“The signing of this bill has been a long time coming,” said OUT’s hate crime manager, Roché Kester, who also manages the Love Not Hate programme.

“This is a definite victory for the LGBTI community and a testament that when the community stands together, great things can be achieved to further the rights of the community and to call out injustice that is discriminatory,” said Kester.

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