Parliament - The National Assembly on Thursday passed a bill which will make it impermissible for marriage officers working for the State to refuse to marry same-sex couples, but objections were raised to the fact that Home Affairs has been granted a 24-month transitional period for training.
The Civil Union Amendment Bill, which seeks to repeal section 6 of the act allowing marriage officers to opt out of marrying same-sex couples on the basis of "conscience, religion and belief", was passed with the support of most parties.
The bill was introduced by Congress of the People MP Deidre Carter, who on Thursday asserted that: "It cannot be in our Constitutional democracy that civil servants can be afforded the right in law about whom they would like to serve."
The proposed amendment was supported by the ruling African National Congress. Its MP Hlomani Chauke said of the 409 Home Affairs offices in South Africa most did not serve same-sex couples.
"What was disturbing was almost 88 percent of marriage officers in the department were exempted from marrying same-sex couples," he said.