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Thursday, December 01, 2005

South Africa high court says same-sex marriages must be recognized
Jeannie Shawl at 12:43 PM ET

[JURIST] The South African Constitutional Court [official website] on Thursday ruled that it is unconstitutional to prohibit gay couples from marrying and gave parliament one year to amend the 1961 Marriage Act to allow same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive]. According to the court's judgment [PDF text; summary], if the legislature does not act to recognize same-sex unions, the definition of marriage will automatically be changed to include same-sex couples. Once the legal definition is changed, South Africa [JURIST news archive] will become the first African nation to recognize same-sex marriage, and the fifth worldwide, joining Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Canada. One of the court's 11 judges dissented from the judgment, saying that the Court should ruled to immediately recognize same-sex marriage. Gay and lesbian groups on Thursday welcomed the ruling [SABC report], but questioned the 12-month waiting period. Reuters has more. The Mail and Guardian has local coverage.

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