Over 400 Home Affairs marriage

Over 400 Home Affairs marriage officers refuse to preside over over civil unions for gay couples

Despite legislation being clear that gay couples have equal rights, they can still be refused a civil union if a member of staff objects.

Over 400 Home Affairs marriage

Mambaonline, South Africa’s most popular gay news and lifestyle website, has broken a pretty important story.

While South Africa is pretty progressive in terms of its rights for same-sex couples, it doesn’t mean these rights are implemented across the board.

According to the publication, Section 6 of the Civil Union Act allows Home Affairs marriage officers to refuse to marry same-sex couples.

As a result, same-sex couples are often turned away from Home Affairs branches.

According to MambaOnline, Minister of Home Affairs Hlengiwe Mkhize says that 421 of the department’s 1130 marriage officers are “exempt” from presiding over civil unions because they “objected on the grounds of conscience, religion or belief”.

This is not exactly a new story. Back in 2016, MambaOnline reported that civil unions were only being offered at 26% of Home Affairs branches across the country.

MambaOnline further reports:

As for whether she would be willing to back legislation to repeal section 6, Mkhize bizarrely replied that this was not a “ministerial prerogative” and asserted that section 6 is “a provision of the law”.

Mkhize added that ‘the [Civil Union] Act is clear in that marriage officers will not be compelled to solemnise such civil unions”.

Read the full story on mambaonline.com.