South Africa Votes to Protect Civil Unions from Homophobic Clerks

While the United States had Kim Davis in Kentucky, it was, up until recently, legal to allow clerks to religiously object to marrying same-sex couples. Now, a new law has passed that requires those who were as clerks to perform same-sex unions in a bid to end discrimination. The National Assembly voted for the change that will impact about one half of clerks. The country itself has allowed for same-sex couples to enter into civil unions since 2006, but will end a clause that stopped state workers who claimed they had a “conscience, religion, or belief” that wouldn’t allow them to do so.

During the debate, Deidre Carter said that the LGBT community “suffered a
particularly harsh fate and were branded as criminals and rejected by society as outcasts.” She continued: “I received complaints that couples were being turned away from a number of Home Affairs offices as there were no marriage officers that were
prepared to solemnise same-sex marriages…My investigations revealed that this tendency was in fact more widespread than initially thought. At the time, the Minister advised me that nearly half of its designated marriage officers had been exempted from solemnizing same-sex marriages.”

The Upper House will now vote on the bill.


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