Mem­ber’s bill by MP from Mar­itzburg a big win for same-sex unions

The Witness - - NEWS -

HOME Af­fairs mar­riage of­fi­cers will not be al­lowed to refuse to per­form same-sex civil unions, un­der a bill adopted in the Na­tional As­sem­bly yes­ter­day.

The Civil Union Amend­ment Bill seeks to re­peal Sec­tion 6 of the Civil Union Act, which al­lowed a mar­riage of­fi­cer to in­form the min­is­ter that “he or she ob­jects on the ground of con­science, re­li­gion, and belief to solem­nis­ing a civil union be­tween per­sons of the same sex”.

It is a pri­vate mem­ber’s bill brought by Cope MP Dei­dre Carter, who is a Mar­itzburger. It is only the sec­ond time a pri­vate mem­ber’s bill has been passed by the House.

Carter said the bill “touches upon the ge­n­e­sis of our con­sti­tu­tional or­der. It touches that which is most sacro­sanct in our Con­sti­tu­tion, our Bill of the Rights: the right to equal­ity and dig­nity; that the state may not un­fairly dis­crim­i­nate; and that it has the re­spon­si­bil­ity to pro­mote, re­spect and ful­fil these rights.”

The Bill was adopted with­out be­ing put to a vote, but the NFP and ACDP ob­jected.

EFF MP Hlengiwe Mkhaliphi said it was the first and last time that they would vote for a Cope-spon­sored Bill.

The DA’s Han­iff Hoosen said they sup­ported the bill, but dis­liked an ANC-in­serted pro­vi­sion de­lay­ing the new regime un­til 24 months after the bill is en­acted.

It still needs to be ap­proved by the Na­tional Coun­cil of Prov­inces for con­sent.

This is only the sec­ond time that a pri­vate mem­ber’s bill has been adopted.

On Novem­ber 28 last year, the Na­tional As­sem­bly adopted the Labour Laws Amend­ment Bill, spon­sored by ACDP MP Ch­eryl­lyn Dudley. The bill was en­acted by Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa last month. — News24.

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