Today, the Private Members Bill to remove Section 6 of the Civil Union Act was adopted by The Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs. Deidre Carter, Deputy General Secretary and Chief Whip of the Congress of the People (COPE), initiated and tabled this bill in Parliament after speaking to same-sex couples who had experienced overt discrimination by Home Affairs marriage officers in various provinces across South Africa.
Section 6 of the Act allowed marriage officers in the employment of the state to apply to be exempt from solemnising same-sex marriages on the grounds of their “conscience, religion [or] belief”. This provision impinged on fundamental rights enshrined in our Constitution including that of equality; that the state may not unfairly discriminate against anyone on the grounds of sexual orientation; and the values and principles by which our public administration should be governed.
The Bill will now be submitted to the National Assembly for consideration and adoption and thereafter to the NCOP for concurrence.
If you would like to read the Report of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs on the Civil Union Amendment Bill [B 11 – 2018]), dated 28 November 2018 or the Civil Union Amendment Bill pop Roche an email .
Parliament of South Africa Media Enquiries:
Media Liaison Officer (Parliament)
061 267 3301