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Scientology church gets wedding vow nod

South Africa

The Department of Home Affairs on Monday granted twelve ministers of the Church of Scientology the right to conduct legal marriage ceremonies, the church said in a statement.

This means that Scientology has been recognised as a religion.

Paul Sondergaard, spokesperson for the church in South Africa, welcomed the decision "as an expression of the government's determination to protect the rights of minority religions.

"In approving the application of our ministers, the government applied the Marriage Act within the framework of a living Constitution that prohibits both religious and racial discrimination," he said.

The Church of Scientology in South Africa was founded in 1957 in Johannesburg. Churches exist in Pretoria, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and Randburg, with more than 240 religious staff and approximately 65 000 parishioners. - Sapa

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