Cope lodges complaint over provision in civil union amendment bill

Cope says same-sex couples seeking the services of a marriage office have been turned away from some home affairs offices, particularly in rural areas.

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JOHANNESBURG - The Congress of the People (Cope) has lodged a complaint with the office of the speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete, over the civil union amendment bill.

The Bill aims to repeal Section 6 of the Civil Union Act which allows a marriage officer in the employ of the State to inform the home affairs minister that he or she objects on the ground of conscience, religion, and belief to solemnising a civil union between persons of the same sex.

Cope says same-sex couples seeking the services of a marriage office have been turned away from some home affairs offices, particularly in rural areas.

It says the marriage officers at those offices had been exempted in terms the act from officiating over marriages between people of the same sex.

Cope’s Deidre Carter says this provision is clearly unconstitutional for several reasons.

“Firstly our Bill of Rights, as enshrined in section nine- three of our Constitution, provides that the State may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on a number of grounds including gender, sex, and sexual orientation. Clearly, it cannot be acceptable or permissible.”

Graphic showing countries worldwide where same-sex marriage has been legalised.