|The South African Law Reform Commission (SALRC) was tasked by the Minister of Home Affairs with investigating the possibility of a single Marriage Act, regulating all the different kinds of marriages in South Africa. The SALRC has now released a Discussion Paper that contains two draft Bills (that are virtually the same, the only difference being the name of the Bills).
From a religious freedom point of view, FOR SA is concerned that, unlike the current Marriage Act, the SALRC’s Bills do not include a clause that expressly protects the right of religious marriage officers to refuse to solemnise marriages that do not conform to their and their organisations’ religious convictions and beliefs (“a conscientious objection clause”). 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, and FOR SA strongly encourages all churches and religious institutions, and all religious marriage officers, of whatever faith, to submit comments on the Discussion Paper and its draft Bills.
Click here to download a template submission that FOR SA has prepared, which you are welcome to use “as is” or to assist you with points for a submission which you may want to prepare with additional comments or an alternate focus.
Submissions can be emailed to Mr Pierre van Wyk at [email protected] by no later than 17 May 2021 (the deadline for submissions).
Please also consider clicking here to donate towards the work of FOR SA as we are 100% dependent upon voluntary contributions to continue to protect and promote our religious freedom rights.
FOR SA Executive Director