The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

South Africa Steps Foward

I can’t help but find a little bit of irony in the news that South Africa — a country that, in my lifetime, had bigotry and discrimination literally as the foundation of its laws — is taking a step on road to allowing same-sex marriage.

South Africa’s Cabinet has given the green light for a bill allowing gay marriage, which would make it the first country in Africa to accord homosexual couples the same rights as their straight counterparts.

Government spokesman Themba Maseko said the Cabinet had approved the bill — which must still be adopted by Parliament — after the country’s highest court ruled it was unconstitutional to deny gay people the right to marry.

“Basically (the bill) will legalize same-sex marriage in compliance with the constitutional court ruling,” said Maseko, who could not say when Parliament would discuss the bill.

It remains to be seen whether the bill will pass in Parliament, but if nothing else South Africa joins Canada, the Netherlands, Spain, and Great Britain in taking a giant step ahead of the U.S. when it comes to equal protection under the law for all of its citizens. Whether the U.S. is ready to take a tiny step forward, as opposed to the usual giant steps backwards, remains to be seen. But we can hope, I guess.

One Comment

  1. I’m fairly hopeful that it will get through Parliament. I think there will be a lot of debate and some politicians will say idiotic, bigoted things that they will regret. However, many South Africans have had to come to terms with the fact that just because they don’t like someone’s face/skin colour/lifestyle, doesn’t mean that they are subhuman or should be treated unequally before the law.

    I think the very interesting thing is that South Africa, unlike some of the others like UK, Netherlands, etc, has the legislation LEADING social change, rather than following it. Here in the UK, the introduction of Civil Partnerships was more a cleanup of legislation after social attitudes had already changed — in SA, I think the opposite is true. It will be interesting to see what the impact of this is in terms of social backlash.