Cope challenges section of Civil Union Act

The Congress of the People says marriage officers should not object to same-sex marriage on any ground because it’s an infringement of the couple’s rights.

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JOHANNESBURG - The Congress of the People (Cope) says Section 6 of the Civil Union Act is unconstitutional as it’s discriminating against same-sex couples and preventing some from officiating their marriages.

The act allows a marriage officer 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.

The party has lodged an application with the office of the National Assembly speaker for amendment.

It says marriage officers should not object to same-sex marriage on any ground because it’s an infringement of the couple’s rights.

Cope’s Deidre Carter said: “This bill aims to repeal Section 6 of the Civil Union Act (17)2006. It came to my attention that same-sex couples seeking the services of the marriage officer were being turned away from some Home Affairs offices, particularly in rural areas, as the marriage officers had been exempted.”