A gay man in South Africa is to contest a law which stops him inheriting his dead partner’s estate.

Mark Gory had a gay marriage ceremony with his partner who later died without leaving a will. His lawyer claims that as there are no children, Mr Gory should be seen as the surviving spouse and therefore the legal heir.

However, the parents of his partner are dismissing claims that the couple were legally married and say they should be entitled to their son’s estate.

Mr Gory’s attorney, Crystal Cambanis said: “It’s not a fight about money. It’s a fight about the principle that the gay community are the lawful heirs of the estate when a partner dies.”

She added, “Gay ‘marriages’ will only come into effect in South Africa in early December 2007, we want gay couples to have the same rights as heterosexual couples to inherent the estate where there isn’t a will written.”

“The gay community is spread far and wide and we’re having great difficulty in spreading the word that they are obtaining more and more rights in terms of the Constitution”

Ms Crystal is basing the case on the Intestate Act of 1987, which states that if a heterosexual couple have no children, the surviving spouse is entitled to their estate.

The case will take place at Pretoria High Court.