South Africa: Recognize same-sex marriage

In yet another blow for equality, South Africa’s supreme court has ruled that denying marriage to same-sex couples violates the country’s constitution. SImilar to the rulings of several Canadian courts, the court in SA found that the common-law definition of marriage must be expanded to encompass same-sex couples. The court, though, has suspended its ruling for two years to give the legislature the opportunity to amend the necessary laws to make it happen.

Oops, my bad. Apparently this wasn’t a ruling from SA’s highest court. The court issuing the ruling was the Supreme Court of Appeals. If I’m understanding SA’s judiciary structure, the ruling could still be appealed to the Constitutional Court, which is the highest court of the nation. Anyone with a better grasp on the SA court system, please jump in.

Still, this is pretty huge.

Here is a link to an South African newspaper article on the ruling, with a little more detail:

I think the ruling needs to be certified by the Constitutional Court before becoming law, but am not really that aware of the court hierarchy, so someone else would have to verify that.

What do you mean by “In yet another blow for equality”? It sounds like an odd way to phrase it if you were personally against the ruling.

I’m pretty certain Otto is in favour of the ruling.

Indeed. It was a blow for equality. A ruling the other way would have been a blow to equality.

Remember the 80s, when South Africa was pretty much the global symbol of inequality?

I’m sorry, my post was a result of misunderstood semantics. I took a “blow for equality” to mean a “blow to equality”.

I am South African (although I’ve been living in Florida for a few months now), so I am aware of South Africa’s previous status in the world.

How many countries currently recognize same-sex marriage?

Belgium, the Netherlands, six Canadian provinces and one territory, and one American state. Also, legislation is expected to be passed in Spain by the new year.

Not to hijack this thread with a triviality, but in reference to the last two posts, I was under the impression that at least some of the Scandinavian countries also recognized SSM. But I may have misunderstood and what they have is civil unions. Perhaps one of the people with knowledge on this subject might clarify.

I thought, further, that England had passed relevant legislation.

(not going to touch the to/for equality thing…)

The countries you refer to have civil unions (the creation of a separate status equivalent or similar to marriage), not legalized marriage (in which the existing marriage laws are altered to “two persons” rather than “a man and a woman”).

This site looks pretty comprehensive and up-to-date.

Poking around that site, I’ve discovered that my state representative is the only openly gay state rep in Illinois.

But according to them, he’s an “Uncle Tom” who isn’t “on our side 100% of the time”. Golly.

Good for South Africa!

It’s a sad day when South Africa is more progressive than the US.*

*Not a dig as in, “Africa is so primitive!” More like-not long ago, Apartheid was the law of the land, and now look at how far they’ve come!

No kidding, Guin. I want the Beacon of Hope back, dammit!

No, its not. The UK passed a Bill just before the closing of the previous parliamentary session that gave homosexual couples the right to enter into ‘civil unions’ at registry officies, the same way that hetrosexual couples who don’t want a religious ceremony can have a civil ceremony at a registry office. There’s a link here as to what the main rights and responsibilities are.

I did say “pretty” comprehensive and up-to-date…

Anyways, the UK bill isn’t quite law yet I don’t believe. Royal Assent is still required; I believe there are also some additional tweakings to the tax laws that have to be done before it goes into effect.

And Spain was an authoritarian dictatorship thirty years ago, too.

The bill got Royal Assent already, and should be active in 2005: Wikipedia

Thanks matt_mcl. I’ll also add that Royal Assent is a mere formality nowadays. If the Bill is passed by a simple majority vote in both Houses (and in some cases, when the Parliament Act is invoked, without the assent of the House of Lords), then Royal Assent is taken for granted. The Monarch really has no real power to veto laws.