NEWS & ANALYSIS

NA passes Civil Union Amendment Bill – Parliament

This repeals section which allowed marriage officer to object to solemnising a civil union between same-sex partners

National Assembly passes the Civil Union Amendment Bill

6 December 2018

The National Assembly at its last plenary sitting for the year, approved the Civil Union Amendment Bill.

The Bill aims to repeal Section 6 of the principal Act which allowed for a marriage officer to object on the grounds of conscience, religion and belief to solemnising a civil union between persons of the same sex. 

It also proposes a transitional period of 24 months to give the Department of Home Affairs sufficient time to train those officials that had been granted exemption by the Minister. It further requires that during this transitional period, a marriage officer other than those granted exemption, be available to solemnise a civil union at every Department of Home Affairs.

In 2006, South Africa became the first country in Africa to recognise same-sex marriages when the Civil Union Act was passed by Parliament. The Act was introduced after the Constitutional Court ruled to be unconstitutional for the state to provide benefits of marriage to opposite-sex couples, yet denies same-sex couples the same.

As customary, the sitting included the traditional end-of-year farewell speeches which saw Members reflect on the year and convey their well wishes as the House rises for December holidays and Constituency work.  

Issued by Moloto Mothapo on behalf of Parliament of the Republic of South Africa, 6 December 2018