South Africa: same-sex marriage legalized

By LeiLani Dowell

South Africa became the first African country and the fifth country worldwide to legalize same-sex marriage on Nov. 30.

The government was forced to enact legislation on same-sex marriage after the country's highest court gave it a year, expiring Dec. 1, to change laws that denied lesbian, gay, bi and trans couples the same constitutional rights as heterosexual couples.

Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said, "In breaking with our past ... [we] need to fight and resist all forms of discrimination and prejudice, including homophobia." (iafrica.com, Nov. 14)

The first legal gay marriage took place the next day, when Vernon Gibbs and Tony Halls were married on World AIDS Day, Dec. 1. Vernon Halls-Gibbs told the BBC, "This marriage ... is for all HIV/AIDS sufferers and gay people who have experienced discrimination." (BBC, Dec. 1)


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