The reality is that by the end of the dead line it will be legal for gay couples to be married in South Africa because the constitutional court will amend the law unless the law is passed through parlaiment which it is expected to do.
The objection is not that religious ministers can opt out. They will continue to marry heterosexuals under the Marriage Act, which is not open to same sex couples, and so will not be asked to compromise their beliefs. The objection is that state-employed registrars will be able to declare that they object and refuse to perform same-sex civil unions.
Marriage: marriage as a sacrament becomes visible as a ritual within a religious practice. A sacrament participates in a transcendental continuum which is infinite and eternal. Thus most religious marriages participate in mythic powers which are not answerable to science, to humanistic reason, to civil law, or even to mundane experience. As Marianne Moore has written: I’m sure of this:Nothing mundane is divine;Nothing divine is mundane. A bride and groom negate some mundane parts of themselves in order to channel God’s love. Within a secular state, a ritualistic religious wedding, under the care of God, can overlap and supplement a civil wedding, but it is not identical to it. Such a civil wedding does not participate in an infinite and eternal transcendental continuum. A religious marriage is answerable to an infinite and eternal God, while the secular marriage is answerable to civil law, which itself is finite and temporal. A secular state need not enforce the laws revealed from the transcendental God; but a religious marriage is answerable to a civil marriage, although polygamy obeys a transcendental revelation which is taken as religious law, rather than civil law. Meanwhile, federal constitutional grounds for the unlawfulness of polygamy are not obvious, and local civil laws are allowed to go unenforced. Religious and civil marriages do overlap, but in only one direction, for while the religious acknowledges the civil, the civil need not include or even acknowledge the religious. In the United States, a religious marriage must render unto Caesar (the historic Julius Caesar was legendary as every woman’s husband and every man’s wife, but not under either divine or mundane law). In religious logic, the religious concepts easily transcend technical logic because its ideas and images overlap each other: God is Love, God is Light, God is Truth, Beauty and Goodness. A wedding and marriage are meanings, with the meaning of a religious wedding quite different from the meaning of a civil wedding. A civil marriage, which has little metaphorical use or value, is less a mystical union than a contract (different relations between marriage and contract appear in Islam, where marriage is contractual). Civil law, in contrast with religious law, is not free to overlap concepts: a civic good may be in conflict with a civic beauty, and civil justice, unlike divine justice, may hold no hope of absolute justice. Civil law must think technically, differentiating concepts, rather than overlapping or merging them, and must both describe and prescribe minute distinctions (religious marriage occurs under universal laws, while civil marriage can differ from state to state). In the United States, under the Constitution as it was first constructed, and now as it survives continuous reconstructions, the Constitution does not protect religious marriage; and is forbidden to do so under the separation of a secular government from religious values, powers an
Marriage, a sacred institution The concept of gay marriage has been back in the news understandably because of the recent political campaigns that we have as citizens been barraged with. Fortunately the elections are over but the issue about gay marriage is not going to gay away because it is our right as American citizens. The republicans seem to use it as a divisive tool to undermine any impression of democrats having a sense of a moral compass. However, now with the Dems being unwilling to even discuss this constitutional right which we elected them to uphold, whose word can we now count on to do the right thing, not the popular thing? We are all once again still hearing the same tired argument used about marriage as being a sacred or religious institution and therefore gay unions are not worthy of being legally sanctioned by any institutions, whether it is in a church chapel or otherwise. If marriage were indeed a sacred or religious institution, which seems to be the major argument presented by the religious right against the legalization of gay marriages, why then can atheist be married legally? One therefore does not have to be religious. Heterosexuals are also allowed to be married by the justice of the peace, at a drive up window in Las Vegas or by a cruise ship captain to receive Gods blessing on their “holy” union of matrimony. Do they want to further blur the lines between separation of church and state by making an amendment against these forms of “non traditional” styles of union since they don’t necessarily have any religious affiliation. Since such unions can be performed by anyone that wants to attain that piece of paper that allows for one to marry heterosexual couples under nearly any circumstance imaginable. Heterosexuals can be married while sky-diving, scuba diving or on a mountaintop. The circumstances or styles one chooses to become legally married are endless. Many of the unions may have no religious overtones whatsoever yet still be considered legal. Since these unions are inarguably legal it would then seem me to blow a big whole in that same tired argument that the religious right continues to endlessly purport that marriage is a “holy” union whether one is a “believer” or not. Another one of their overused arguments is that allowing gay marriages would also help destroy the heterosexual marriages by making a mockery of it. I don’t think heterosexuals need our help in destroying “holy” matrimony. According to all statistics on the success of “traditional” heterosexual marriages, they seem to be doing a fine job of that on their own. I would truly like to hear a rational discussion on this issue and some rational reasons that would suggest that their fears are well founded. Thank you, Aaron Jason Silver. http://www.aaronjasonsilver.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Homosexuality is not un-African. Africa had an extensive, fully-institutionalised and well documented tradition of same-sex marriage throughout the length and breadth of the continent. When Christian colonists arrived from Europe they began attacking this and many other African traditional institutions. Interestingly anti-gay lobbyists claim that homosexuality was ‘brought’ to Africa from Europe or with Islam. This is simply untrue. HOMOPHOBIA was brought to Africa with Christianity and Islam. The practice continues … will gay Europe please do something about the money flowing to Christian organisations in Africa who have a homophobic and misogynist agenda!
Hats off to South Africa! The UK should be ashamed of itself for passing that discriminatory Civil Partnership law which is nothing more than a separate and unequal law, thereby creating another tier to the stifling class structure of which we are so renowned for. So much for equality. Some say its better than nothing, but I say its totally unacceptable and offensive. If the UK truly believed in equality and democracy, it would have already taken the extra step to do the right thing. Holland, Belgium, Canada and Spain did it, and there was absolutely no reason why the UK couldn’t. Nothing but cowardice and typically British, always taking the easy way out to appease religious bigots who have no right to influence legislation to deny us access to full civil marriage equality. Long live South Africa, one of the few true democracies on this planet.
I think that UK must abolish civil partnerships and replace them with marriage equality. Or open both civil partnerships and marriage to all couples. If instead of marriage equality, civil partnerships give second-class citizenship to gays and lesbians. They mark gays and lesbians as inferior. History teaches us that separate is inherently unequal. And marriage is a unique legal and social commitment and celebration, it is a unique institution. Best wishes to all!
It disgusts me that the South African reform does not let gays marry under the Marriage Act. Now, South African heterosexuals can choose to marry either under the Marriage Act or under the Civil Union Act… gays and lesbians cannot. I think that the Civil Union Act must be replaced with one marriage law for all… for example with an Act that amends the Marriage Act to include gays and lesbians.
As young gay South African, for this is victory and I can only stand in awe of my government. Yes, there is still a long way to go particularly RE: Acceptance from the society but we are getting there.
Duncan, be proud of South Africa, your country has done far more than the UK will ever do. At least you have the right to have your union recognised as full marriage, unlike our own which discriminates quite blatantly as being separate and unequal not equal as some seem to delude themselves on.Equalmarriage, yes, you too are absolutely right. The problem with our LGBTQ community is that they’ve become complacent and they’ll do nothing to make full marriage equality the norm because they’ve fallen for the cynics who don’t want marriage or they think they are becoming like heterosexuals, whatever that means. They just don’t get the broader picture or the reason why marriage is very important in every country on this planet. They’ve settled for the better than nothing option and they don’t give a damn about the implications further down the road. Once more progressive countries open marriage to same-sex couples, the UK will be stuck once again and civil partnerships will have no relevance or import. Tory MP Michael Ancram’s recent comments are evidence of the underlying homophobia and anti-equality attitude that pervades both parties and our society in general. Robert, ex-pat Brit.