By Advocate Nadene Badenhorst, legal counsel for Freedom of Religion SA (FOR SA)
The South African Law Reform Commission (SALRC) was tasked by the Minister of Home Affairs with investigating the possibility of a single marriage statute, regulating all the different kinds of marriages in South Africa. The SALRC has now released a discussion paper in which the commission tables its proposals, including a draft bill.
FOR SA is concerned that, unlike the current Marriage Act, the SALRC’s proposed draft bill does not include a clause that specifically protects the right of religious marriage officers to refuse to solemnise marriages that do not conform to their organisations’ religious convictions and beliefs. As a result, religious marriage officers could potentially by law be forced to solemnise marriages against their religious convictions and beliefs.
The SALRC’s Discussion Paper is open for public comment until May 17 and FOR SA encourages all churches and religious institutions, and all religious marriage officers, of whatever faith, to make submissions in this regard. Submissions can be made to Mr Pierre van Wyk at email@example.com
*For the sake of convenience, we point out that the most relevant pages in the SALRC’s Discussion Paper are as follows: Pages 1-2; p 8, para 1.22; p 18, paras 1.38 and 1.39; p 24, para 2.4 to p 25 (preamble); p 27, para 2.8; p 51 para 2.48 – p 55 at end of para 2.51; p 57, paras 2.55 – 2.57; p 64, para 2.68 to end page 75; pp 135-145; pp 153-162.
Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay up to date with God stories of Africa and beyond
DONATE — Click on the link to donate and help us to keep on publishing uplifting news that glorifies God and strengthens His people. Thank you for your support.
You are welcome to engage with our articles by making comments [in the Comments area below] that add value to a topic or to engage in thoughtful, constructive discussion with fellow readers. Comments that contain vulgar language will be removed. Hostile, demeaning, disrespectful, propagandistic comments may also be moved. This is a Christian website and if you wish to vent against Christian beliefs you have probably come to the wrong place and your comments may be removed. Ongoing debates and repetitiveness will not be tolerated. You will also disqualify yourself from commenting if you engage in trolling.