[JURIST] Thousands of protestors took to the streets across South Africa Saturday demonstrating against same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive] as South Africa's parliament prepares to hold hearings on a bill that would place same-sex partnerships on equal footing with traditional marriage. The parliament is set to debate [JURIST report] the Civil Unions Bill [draft text, DOC; background legal memo, DOC], drafted in response [JURIST report] to a December 2005 ruling [judgment,PDF; summary] of the South African Constitutional Court [official website] holding that the 1961 Marriage Act [1997 extension text, PDF] prohibition against same-sex marriages violates the South African Constitution [text]. The opposition African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) [party website] has called for a constitutional amendment [text, DOC; press release] to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
Passage of the legislation is not assured, as it has incurred opposition not only from South African marriage advocates [advocacy website], but also from members and supporters of the South African gay and lesbian community who argue that it simply endorses an apartheid-like "separate but equal" status for same-sex unions falling short of the remedy mandated by the Constitutional Court's finding. Reuters has more.