Current Affairs

South Africa backs gay inheritance rights

Marc Shoffman November 23, 2006
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South Africa’s gay community has been given more cause for celebration after the country’s constitutional court today ruled that same sex partners should have equal inheritance rights to heterosexual couples.

The case comes just weeks after South African politicians voted for gay marriage.

This latest development orders that the law regarding inheritance rights should also include the term, “same-sex life partnership.”

Vista Kaupa, from South African gay rights group, the Triangle Project, told The Associated Press: “We welcome the court’s ruling and agree with it that the previous act was discriminatory as it didn’t recognise same sex couples who are in permanent relationships.

“That is why it is important to grant legal rights to same sex couples in the new marriage act to spare them from court cases like this.”

The decision stems from a case in March when the Pretoria High Court decided that Mark Gory should have a legal right to his late partner Henry Brook’s estate under the Intestate Succession Act.

Mr Brook’s parents said it was unfair as the couple were not legally married.

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.”

The law will take immediate effect.

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