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  • Mónica Taher
    ************************************************************** This is an update from GLAAD s LGBT Latino Activist list. Este es un avance noticioso de la
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 1, 2005
      This is an update from GLAAD's LGBT Latino Activist list.
      Este es un avance noticioso de la lista LGBT Latina de GLAAD.

      FYI: South Africa¹s Constitutional Court has advised the parliament to amend
      marriage laws to include same-sex partners. However ­ marriage is NOT yet a
      reality in that African country. The Court just did what Massachusetts Court
      decided on February 18th 2004. If approved, then, South Africa would be the
      fifth country in the world to legalize marriage for LGBT people.

      An interesting side bar of mention: the chief justice of the Massachusetts
      Supreme Judicial Court, Margaret H. Marshall, is a native South African and
      wrote the Goodridge decision in 2003.



      Court sets S.Africa on course for gay marriage
      Thu Dec 1, 2005 9:00 AM ET

      By Gershwin Wanneburg

      JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's top court said on Thursday it was
      unconstitutional to deny gay people the right to marry, putting it on track
      to become the first African country to legalize same-sex marriage.

      The Constitutional Court told parliament to amend marriage laws to include
      same-sex partners within the year -- a step that would make South Africa the
      fifth country in the world to approve gay marriage despite widespread
      African taboos against homosexuality.

      "The exclusion of same-sex couples from the benefits and responsibilities of
      marriage ... signifies that their capacity for love, commitment and
      accepting responsibility is by definition less worthy of regard than that of
      heterosexual couples," Justice Albie Sachs said in the ruling.

      The court said if parliament did not act, the legal definition of marriage
      would be automatically changed to include same-sex unions. That would put
      South Africa alongside Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Canada in
      allowing gay marriages.

      Elated gay and lesbian couples and supporters hugged each other after the
      judgment, although some said they were disappointed they had to wait longer
      to get married.

      "We would've liked to get married as soon as we could," said Fikile
      Vilakazi, wearing a yellow T-shirt with the words "Marriage -- anything less
      is not equal".

      "I'm very happy though that finally our courts have discovered that the
      common law definition of marriage is unconstitutional ... that the Marriage
      Act is inconsistent with the constitution."


      Post-apartheid South Africa has one of the most progressive constitutions in
      the world and the only one to enshrine equal rights for gays and lesbians.

      Many African countries, by contrast, outlaw homosexuality and turn a blind
      eye to persecution of gays and lesbians.

      The case stemmed from an application won a year ago by a lesbian couple to
      have their marriage recognized in a lower court. Government lawyers
      appealed, arguing only parliament should have the right to make the change.

      The couple was backed by the country's leading gay rights group, the Lesbian
      and Gay Equality Project.

      Only one of the court's 11 judges dissented from the ruling, arguing it
      should have legalized gay marriage immediately.

      South African gay activists have won a string of legal victories in recent
      years, including the right to adopt children and inherit from partners'
      wills, but so far the right to marry has eluded them.

      Sachs dismissed religious objections to gay marriage, saying the country's
      constitution gave no reason why gays and religious groups could not

      "In the open and democratic society contemplated by the Constitution there
      must be mutually respectful co-existence between the secular and the
      sacred," he said.

      South Africa's biggest Christian party, which has taken a strong anti-gay
      stance in the past, said the ruling threatened the country's social

      "Every long-standing society has viewed marriage as a union of male and
      female. Studies of previous civilizations reveal that when a society strays
      from the sexual ethic of marriage, it deteriorates and eventually
      disintegrates," the African Christian Democratic Party said in a statement.

      Government officials were not available for comment.

      © Reuters 2005. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of
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      expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters
      and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the
      Reuters group of companies around the world.

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      Este avance le ha sido enviado por la lista LGBT Latina de GLAAD. Para dejar
      de recibir los avances, corresponda este correo con la palabra "remover."

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