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South Africa parliament drafting legislation to legalize same-sex partnerships

[JURIST] Patrick Chauke, chairperson of the South African Parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs [official website], on Wednesday ruled out an amendment to the South African Constitution [text] legalizing same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive]. Chauke said, however, that a bill legalizing same-sex partnerships will be presented to Parliament by October, just prior to the deadline [JURIST report] set by the South African Constitutional Court [official website] for Parliament to amend the 1961 Marriage Act [1997 extension text, PDF]. The Court ruled [judgment,PDF; summary] last year that the definition of marriage, which restricts marriage to a union between a man and a woman, is discriminatory and unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, gay and human rights organizations voiced their support [IOL report] for an amendment to the Marriage Act on Monday, asking elected officials to adopt the proposed amendments to the bill. Once the legal definition is changed, South Africa will become the first African nation to legalize same-sex partnerships. South Africa's SABC News has more.

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