Tuesday, November 21, 2006
"Parliament on Tuesday voted resoundingly to legalize same-sex marriages in South Africa, making the nation the first in Africa and the fifth in the world to remove legal barriers to them, according to advocates. The nation’s highest court ruled last December that South Africa’s marriage statute violated the Constitution’s guarantee of equal rights. The court gave the government a year to alter the legal definition of marriage. That left the government with three choices: legalize same-sex marriages, let the court change the law by fiat or alter the Constitution, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Under the proposal approved by Parliament, heterosexual and same-sex couples could register marriages or civil partnerships. In a concession to critics, the law also would allow civil officers to refuse to marry same-sex couples if such marriages conflicted with their conscience."By Sharon LaFraniere, N.Y. Times Link to Article (last visited 11-20-06 NVS)