Traditional leaders have warned that gay couples risk being treated as pariahs in rural communities in South Africa following last week’s Constitutional Court ruling endorsing same-sex marriages.

Members of the National House of Traditional Leaders unanimously agreed during a three-day conference in Hazyview, Mpumalanga, that the endorsement disappointed them.

“We are of the belief that, based on viewpoints of rural communities, this (ruling) will cause same-sex married couples to be ostracized, which is something that is not promoted by the institution and might lead to victimization and violence,” said NHTL spokesperson Sibusiso Nkosi.

Nkosi said that the leaders believed that same-sex marriages were at variance with African culture, and the decision went against the mandate of the NHTL to protect and promote the customs of communities that observe customary law.

“Traditional leaders have vowed to make it their mission for the coming fives years to campaign against this wicked, decadent and immoral western practice,” he said.

According the Reuters, Nkosi said the house would study the Constitutional Court’s judgment and decide on the steps to take in order to challenge the ruling.

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