The African Christian Democratic Party says that it does not support the Civil Union Amendment Bill, proposed to Parliament yesterday by COPE MP Deidre Carter.
The Bill, if passed, will allow that civil servants who are marriage officers be compelled to solemnise same-sex marriages regardless of their religious beliefs.
The ACDP’s Cheryllyn Dudley says that, “for a society that professes to value freedom of choice we are becoming more and more selective about who gets to choose and who does not. Our constitution protects freedom of conscience, religion and belief and members of Parliament have a duty to see that people are not compelled to act against their conscience in the course of their work and that they are not discriminated against on these grounds”.
The ANC, DA, EFF and IFP have put their support behind the Bill.
The Bill seeks to repeal Section 6 of the Civil Union Act that provides for a marriage officer to be exempted from solemnising same-sex marriages on the grounds of conscience, religion and belief.
The COPE MP said the Civil Union Act was discriminating against same-sex couples on the basis of sexual orientation when exempted officials refused to solemnise marriages of same sex couples. She added that it also flew in the face of the Constitution, which promotes equality.
Dr Aaron Ramodumo, from the Department of Home Affairs, said the legislation should be reconsidered if there was something wrong. He stated that sections in certain legislations like the Marriage Act should also be looked into.
Home Affairs Committee chairperson Hlomane Chauke said Parliament would engage with other stakeholders on the bill and deal with technicalities around taking the repeal of the legislation forward.
Dudley said “although there seems to be broad consensus from the side of the department and the committee - the people have not yet spoken”.
“The ACDP will inform the public when the Bill is advertised so that people can forward written submissions and send in requests to make oral submissions to the Home Affairs Portfolio Committee”, Dudley added.
ISSUED BY CHERYLLYN DUDLEY MP
16 August 2018