15 Years Since South Africa Became the 1st and Only African Country to Legalise Same Sex Marriages

15 Years Since South Africa Became the 1st and Only African Country to Legalise Same Sex Marriages

  • The LGBTQIA+ community in South Africa has fought for their right to equality in the country and are slowly but surely succeeding
  • Same-sex marriages were legalised in South Africa in 2006 but the fight for impartiality did not end there
  • The LGBTQIA+ community has come a long way with the law in South Africa but there is still much more to be done

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In October 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa signed into law the Civil Union Amendment Bill that blocks marriage officers from declining to conduct marriages that involve same-sex partners. This wasn't the first time South Africa was ahead of the game.

Mzansi's Constitution is the world's first to prevent unfair discrimination based on sexual orientation. This pushes forward equality for the LGBTQIA+ community in South Africa.

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South Africa, same-sex marriages, first and only African country, Mzansi
It has been 15 years since same-sex marriages were legalised in South Africa. Image: Nardus Engelbrecht/Gallo Images
Source: Getty Images

Apartheid regime and laws against the LGBTQIA+ community

According to a 1998 BBC report, sodomy in Mzansi during the apartheid regime could have resulted in jail time of up to seven years. Men were prohibited from having casual contact that could be considered homosexual behaviour.

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The report continued by explaining that 'aversion therapy' which was electric shock therapy used on gay men was practised during this time. Intercourse between women did not have any specific laws but was stigmatised by the laws of that time.

Mzansi, South Africa, same-sex marriages, gay, lesbian, pride, LGBTQIA+ community
The apartheid regime banned many things and even sent gay men to shock therapy. Image: GUILLEM SARTORIO/AFP
Source: Getty Images

Minister of Home Affairs v Fourie

Marié Adriaana Fourie and her soon-to-be wife Cecelia Johanna Bonthuys assisted in making moves for same-sex marriages. Fourie and Bonthuys, with the Lesbian and Gay Equality Project, went to the Pretoria High Court in 2002 to have their marriage legally recognised.

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The judge presiding over their case dismissed their application on a technical point of departure. According to IOL, the legalisation of same-sex marriages came thanks to this leading case.

Lesbian, gay, LGBTQIA+ community, same-sex marriages, South Africa, Mzansi
The LGBTQIA+ community finally saw a light at the end of the tunnel thanks to Minister of Home Affairs v Fourie. Image: RAJESH JANTILAL/AFP
Source: Getty Images

The year everything changed for the LGBTQIA+ community

Jason Fiddler, the chairperson of the KwaZulu-Natal Gay & Lesbian Tourism Association (KZNGALTA), told Briefly News that 1994 had opened doors to a more free society, thanks to the new Constitution.

Fiddler revealed that the first Durban Gay Pride celebration was held at the BAT Centre in 2005. A year later, South Africa became the sole nation in the African continent to legalise same-sex unions. The constitution also protects against discrimination against sexual orientation, according to Global Citizen.

This was a massive step for not only Mzansi but the continent as a whole. This is a big change from the anti-gay laws that were in place before. In 1966, a police raid at a gay party in Johannesburg resulted in the 'Three Men at a Party' clause in the Amendments to the Immorality Act.

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This heinous law criminalised sexual passion or sexual gratification shared between any male persons at a party. The law described a party as an event with more than two people present, as reported by concourt.org.

Gay, lesbian, South Africa, Mzansi, LGBTQIA+ community, same-sex marriages, homosexuality
South Africa has laws in place to protect the LGBTQIA+ community. Image: Rajesh JANTILAL / AFP
Source: Getty Images

Bills and laws that protect the LGBTQIA+ community in South Africa

In 2018, the hate speech and hate crimes bill was introduced, which protects members of the LGBTQIA+ community. In 2020, President Ramaphosa passed the Civil Union Amendment Act into law. This Act stops marriage officers from declining to officiate same-sex unions.

The fight continues as hate crimes still plague the community

While same-sex marriages are legal and transgender people can legally change their sex and gender, the community still has to fight for their rights. In April, it was reported that four gay men were killed in less than a month in South Africa.

Aljazeera reported that the Gay and Lesbian Alliance of South Africa is urging Parliament to pass the 'Hate Crimes Law'. The confirmation of the Bill has been hindered as there are many who are concerned that it may impede Freedom of Speech.

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South Africa may be the first African country to legalise same-sex marriage and to have a Constitution that aims to protect members of the LGBTQIA+ community from discrimination but people still fear for their lives on the daily, reports BusinessLIVE.

Pride in South Africa

Fiddler said to Briefly News that he is optimistic about Pride taking place again in 2022. It was put on hold in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"It's no mean feat putting on the Pride and Covid-19 just made things almost impossible. However, we're optimistic that by June next year conditions will be right for at the very least a limited gathering of fabulous folk and our allies, as we continue to fight for the application of our human rights, dignity, respect and acceptance by the wider public."

"Daaaamn boo": LGBTQ+ couple share stunning pics on anniversary, SA is here for it

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Previously, Briefly News reported that a beautiful LGBTQ+ couple decided to jet off to the Mother City in celebration of their second anniversary and the Insta-worthy pictures really had Mzansi feeling the love.

It seems the lovebirds enjoyed a boat ride, world-class cabin service and a candlelit dinner on their special day out and about in Cape Town. Heading online, Twitter user @DlaminiSii shared the out-of-this-world pictures.

"2nd Anniversary photo dump," she lovingly captioned the post along with a big read heart and 'puppy-dog eyes' emoji.

Source: Briefly News

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