Marriage officers no longer allowed to say 'I won't' when gay couples say 'I do'
On Wednesday the Civil Union Amendment Bill was passed in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) and it gives gay couples more rights.
The previous version allowed a marriage officer to object to performing a marriage between a same-sex couple on the basis of conscience or religious grounds.
Now marriage officers, as public servants employed by the Department of Home Affairs would no longer be allowed to refuse to perform a civil union ceremony.
Director of Inclusive & Affirming Ministries (IAM) Rev Ecclesia de Lange chats to Lester Kiewit about the new amendment.
The Justice parliamentary committee approved this amendment in 2018 but has taken two years to come before the NCOP.
Unfortunately, the wheels of justice turn slowly but we're happy that it has been passed at least.Rev Ecclesia de Lange, Director - Director of Inclusive & Affirming Ministries (IAM)
She says this is a victory as same-sex couples face so many barriers in particular when approaching the Department of Home Affairs.
Some of the officials, because of their belief and value system, had denied and refused this service that is available to same-sex couples.Rev Ecclesia de Lange, Director - Director of Inclusive & Affirming Ministries (IAM)
It is a step in the right direction she believes.
It just opens more does and hopefully more respectable approaches to helping couples to celebrate their lives and celebrate their love in this format.Rev Ecclesia de Lange, Director - Director of Inclusive & Affirming Ministries (IAM)
Though tackling wedding venues that deny same-sex couple wedding receptions is another battle to fight.
I think if you're running a business and making a profit in our country where we have very clear laws that celebrate same-sex couples and the sexual orientation identity of all people, then most definitely you should offer those services whatever your beliefs are.Rev Ecclesia de Lange, Director - Director of Inclusive & Affirming Ministries (IAM)
She says regarding LGBTI rights and protections in general, South Africa has one of the most advanced constitutions in the world, but the implementation of these laws is problematic.
I think many citizens are ill-informed about the rights of queer people and the discrimination is still wide and it is rampant.Rev Ecclesia de Lange, Director - Director of Inclusive & Affirming Ministries (IAM)
Listen to the interview below:
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