Mhambi has been redeployed.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Gay marriage allowed in South Africa

Mhambi has been very critical of the ANC government of late, but this week they did something that made him proud to be South African. They instituded a law that enables a form of gay marriage in South Africa. The first country in Africa and only the fith one in the world to have these provisions, and most certainly against the wishes of the majority of South African and the ANC's own supporters' whishes.

Now, there are problems with the new legislation. It created a new civil marriage law which includes all South Africans, but had retained the old marriage law that discriminates against gays and lesbians. But others thought the gay marriage legislation was out of touch with Africa, not reflecting the views of Africans anywhere on the continent.

"The bill did not have the approval of the majority - the minority in the society had actually set the wheels in motion for the bill in the 1990s, when the constitution was being written." said Sehlare Makgetlaneng, head of the southern Africa desk at the Africa Institute of South Africa, a Pretoria-based think-tank.

The ANC has defended its decision to push the same-sex marriage bill, saying that since it had brought the constitution to life, it had a duty to ensure that all its laws were in line with it. "We cannot provide for equal rights in the constitution and then take it away [by not enacting legislation]," said Smuts Ngonyama, the ANC's spokesman.

Mhambi salutes the ANC's courage. If South Africa is to address its many social probelms more of this kind of strong moral leadership is needed from its politicians.

Of course gay South Africans have a distiguished record in fighting and speaking out against Apartheid. Ivan Toms, Zackie Achmat, Edward Cameron, Johannes Kerkorrel, Joan Hambridge and many others all played their part.

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