The death of marriage in SA: a world first! — Errol Naidoo

Family Policy Institute director Errol Naidoo writes that the Department of Home Affairs’ gender-neutral Marriage Bill undermines the bedrock institution of marriage and is detrimental to society

I participated in a virtual stakeholder engagement workshop on the draft “Marriage Bill” on August 17 – hosted by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA).  The gender-neutral  single “Marriage Bill”  maliciously omits all reference to husband and wife which effectively signals the death of the God-given and God-defined institution of man, woman marriage in South African law.

The ANC regime falsely claims the purpose of the “Marriage Bill” is “to rationalize the marriage laws pertaining to various types of marriages and to provide for the recognition of marriages entered into by spouses regardless of the religious, cultural, sex, gender, sexual orientation or any other belief of the spouses and provide for the requirements for entering into marriage.”

The proposed new “Marriages Act” will replace the current “Marriage Act of 1961” that regulate man, woman marriage, the “Recognition of Customary Marriages Act of 1998” that regulate polygamous marriages, and the “Civil Union Act of 2006” that regulate same-sex unions.

Although the DHA Director General stressed the proposed “Marriage Bill” was motivated by the Constitutional Court ruling pertaining to women’s rights in Muslim marriages. Muslim participants argued the “Marriage Bill” fails to address  the pertinent issues raised in the ruling.  

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Significantly, however, the recognition and regulation of Muslim marriages could have easily been incorporated in the “Marriage Act of 1961” and the “Recognition of Customary Marriages Act of 1998” (for polygamous marriages).  We do not need a single Marriage Act for this purpose.

The primary reason the ANC regime formulated the new single “Marriage Bill” was to redefine marriage to specifically equate it with same-sex and transgender unions. Following the Constitutional Court ruling in 2005, LGBTQ activists demanded government amend  the “Marriage Act of 1961”  to equate same-sex unions with man, woman marriage in all respects.

The Christian Church objected to this amendment. Parliament enacted the “Civil Union Act” in 2006 to recognise and regulate same-sex (and opposite-sex) unions. Religious marriage officers were exempt from solemnising civil unions if they were not registered under this specific Act.

LGBTQ activists objected to the separate legislation that recognised and regulated same-sex unions because it allegedly implied it was inferior to man, woman marriage. They further argued the exclusive distinction of man, woman marriage in law discriminates against same-sex unions.

Fast forward to 2023 and the ANC regime finally capitulates to the demands of LGBTQ radicals and their proxies in UN agencies. But instead of amending the “Marriage Act of 1961” to abolish the terms “husband and wife” and replace it with the non-binary term, “spouses,” government scrapped all three Marriage Acts in favour of a single gender-neutral “Marriages Act.”

The ANC regime sought to avoid revealing its true intentions – which is redefining man, woman marriage in law to appease the irrational demands of minority LGBTQ groups. As a consequence, marriage – an institution in existence for thousands of years and that served countless nationalities and cultures – will cease to exist in South African law, to validate a cultural  trend in existence for a mere 22 years and legally recognised by only 34 of the 193 nations of the world.

The draft single “Marriage Bill,” if enacted, will be devastating for men, women, and children, family life, religious freedoms, the Christian Church and general society for the following reasons:

1. South Africa is the only nation in the world to take the unprecedented step of stripping men and women of the exclusive legal definition of monogamous heterosexual marriage for no other reason than to submit to the irrational demands of a tiny militant group of sexual rights radicals.

2. Monogamous marriage in the proposed single “Marriages Act” includes opposite sex, same-sex and transgender unions. This Act will effectively kill off the Biblically defined institution of man, woman marriage in South African law and will ultimately degrade its true and sacred purpose.

3. More diabolically, the proposed single “Marriages Act” makes group marriage (polyamory) possible. A representative of the “genderqueer” group objected to the DHA legal advisor making reference to the term, “husband” when explaining the polygamous provisions of the Bill. What the Bill will sanction – because it is gender-neutral — is for male, female or transgender individuals to “marry” multiple partners of opposite or various genders under the polygamous provision. 

4. Several participants including myself enquired if religious marriage officers would be compelled to solemnise same-sex or transgender unions. The legal advisor’s response was vague. He explained, LGBTQ citizens can register as marriage officers under the new Marriages Act” to solemnise same-sex, transgender unions. Critically, however, the draft “Marriage Bill” DOES NOT specifically include a conscientious exemption clause for religious marriage officers.

5. If recent events have taught us anything, the availability of LGBTQ marriage officers will not guarantee LGBTQ citizens will use them exclusively. Numerous marriage officers are registered under the “Civil Union Act” to solemnise same-sex unions. However, this provision did not stop LGBTQ activists from suing religious persons and institutions for alleged unfair discrimination.

6. LGBTQ activists will target religious marriage officers, Church venues, wedding chapels and related Christian businesses to force them to comply. Because the new single “Marriages Act” makes no distinction between man, woman and same-sex and transgender unions — declining to solemnise or host LGBTQ unions will constitute legal grounds for costly discrimination suits.

7. The proposed single “Marriages Act” is unnecessary. The current marriage laws regulating (1) man, woman marriage, (2) polygamous marriages and (3) civil unions are the most practical legislative solution for South Africa given the disparities between the incompatible worldviews.

8. Significantly, LGBTQ citizens are provided all the benefits and privileges of marriage in the “Civil Union Act.” The state’s obligation to protect and uphold monogamous heterosexual marriage in no way deny or diminish civil unions. This contradicts government’s claim the single “Marriage Bill” was formulated to promote the values of freedom, equality and dignity for all.

9. The proposed single “Marriages Act” unfairly discriminates against the majority of citizens who view marriage as the exclusive union between one man and one woman and want their marriages defined as such in law. Our Creator God created mankind male and female and brought them together in holy matrimony for the purpose of propagating the human race.

10. Marriage is a cornerstone institution of society and the glue that holds it together. Every human being that ever lived owes his or her existence to the union of a man and a woman. Marriage, therefore, does not discriminate against anyone. It is a natural  public good for all people groups regardless of nationality, culture, ethnicity and religious belief. The proposed single “Marriages Act” takes a sledgehammer to this vital institution with catastrophic consequences for society.

The proposed single “Marriages Act” is the most insidious and socially destructive policy ever conceived by the ANC regime. It undermines and desecrates the very foundations of human civilisation. When the state redefines marriage and the family it unravels the created order.

Family breakdown and fatherless homes have already decimated South African society. Redefining the God-ordained institution of marriage will ultimately lead to a diminished view of this bedrock institution.  Tragically, innocent children suffer most when marriage is devalued.

The long-term implications of redefining man, woman marriage will be detrimental to the health and welfare of children, the stability of the family, social cohesion and economic prosperity.  

The Christian Church and civil-society leadership in South Africa MUST actively defend the God-ordained institution of marriage. LGBTQ citizens already enjoy all the benefits and privileges of marriage under the “Civil Union Act.” It is therefore outrageous that government plans to abolish the unique distinction of man, woman marriage in law when there is no justification to do so.   

Please comment on the draft “Marriage Bill” by emailing or by August 31. The draft “Marriage Bill” will be tabled in Parliament following this stage — which will necessitate a further public participation process.

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  1. Rev I L Karshagen

    Pure evil!

  2. Before I say what I want to, let me clear that I am not LGBTI but seriously, It’s time to get with the programme Eroline… and stop hiding behind your sexual insecurities and using God as your cover. This article says alot, yet says nothing. You are not God so don’t try to be God. Rather be Godly and follow in Jesus’ footsteps unstead. If you are the perfect example of being a Christian, then I can understand why many people do not want to be involved with a church. Yes we can have our disagreements but we do not have to slander and pretend your opinion or understanding of something is the truth when all it is, is just YOUR opinion. That is not being very Christian-like if you are preaching only your opinion and not facts. One thing I do agree with is where you said: “ Family breakdown and fatherless homes have already decimated South African society.” Many many more children are affected by unstable heterosexual families than by the so called “Homosexual Agenda” as you keep putting it. In fact, many gay families have raised many beautiful heterosexual children who also have their very own beautiful heterosexual kids, all because the heterosexual family could not fulfill their duties and responsibilities as parents. I think you should focus on this issue instead because LGBTQIA+ people are not sexual predators or perverts. Unfortunately, a small percentage of them have issues controlling their sexual desires, but let’s be honest, many children are also being raped by their very own “heterosexual” family members. So why exclusively and constantly attacking the LGBTQIA community? Please stop with the lies and start focussing on the real family values as there are alot of family issues in this country and LGBTI is a very small part of it. Neither are LGBTQI people polygamists. Look at your former President, Zuma. I doubt he was gay.