In 2016, the Department of Home Affairs released a list of offices across South Africa that solemnise same-sex marriages. The list revealed that only 117 of the 409 offices nationwide will solemnise marriages of same-sex couples.
This means that 28,6% of marriage officers are willing to solemnise marriages between same-sex couples. The implementation of this section has created practical difficulties for same-sex couples who want to get married.
Section 6 of the Civil Union Act creates a tension between two rights in the Constitution, namely the right to equality and the right to freedom of religion, conscience, and belief.
The primary purpose of the Civil Union Act is to protect the rights to dignity and equality of same-sex couples and to remedy the intentional discrimination imposed upon them.
Sonke supports the amendment of the Civil Union Act by removing section 6.
“It is submitted that section 6 of the Civil Union Act is in direct conflict with the objectives of the Civil Union Act and undermines the purpose of the Civil Union Act to remove discrimination on the groups of sexual orientation and to uphold the constitutional rights to equality and dignity.”
Download Sonke’s submission in full.