A landmark South African ruling has named a gay man as the sole heir to his late partner’s estate.

Mark Gory had been locked in a court battle with the parents of his boyfriend, Henry Brooks over who should rightfully be the legal heir after he died suddenly in April 2005 without a will.

The Pretoria High Court declared the Intestate Succession Act as unconstitutional and said it should acknowledge same sex relationships.

Mr Gory had a gay marriage ceremony with his partner, but Mr Brook’s parents dismissed claims they were legally married and felt they should be entitled to their son’s estate. This prompted them to buy sell the house where the men lived.

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 judge ordered that the proceeds of the sale of the house be returned to Mr Gory.