8 February 2022
For immediate distribution
BELOFTEBOS SEEKS AMICABLE RESOLUTION OF SAME-SEX MARRIAGE CASE
The owners of Beloftebos, the wedding venue which was taken to Court by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) after they declined to host and organise the celebration of a same-sex marriage, have written to the SAHRC in an attempt to amicably resolve this matter, which has been ongoing for over two years. This follows a face-to-face meeting between the owners and representatives from the SAHRC last year to try and understand one another’s position.
In their proposal to the SAHRC, the owners of Beloftebos:
- State that any agreement reached between them would be fact specific to the present matter and could not be used as a precedent in any other matter;
- Ask that the SAHRC accept (without having to agree with them) that their bona fide and intensely-held world view is that marriage is a sacrament between a man and a woman. Further, that their views and beliefs regarding marriage are for considered and nuanced reasons which in turn are fundamental to their relationship with God, which relationship is central to all their activities;
- Recognise that the SAHRC has a responsibility, when anyone abuses their beliefs about marriage to undermine the dignity of people and to promote hatred, bigotry and prejudice against those who may have very different but equally intensely held beliefs about marriage, to take action;
- Undertake to scrutinise carefully their website and other means of communication to ensure that none of their content can be used cynically to abuse or to undermine the dignity and value of those whose belief systems regarding marriage may be strongly opposed to those which they hold themselves.
“We live in a society where our Constitution encourages us to be united in our diversity”, said Michael Swain, Executive Director of Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR SA). “The owners of Beloftebos have stated clearly and consistently that the issue has always been about their sincere and deeply held convictions on the sacrament of marriage. It has never been about the sexual orientation of any person and they have at every opportunity made it crystal clear that they fully respect and recognise the constitutional rights of the LGBTIQ+ community.”
In their letter to the SAHRC, the owners of Beloftebos also noted that, flowing from a number of years of on-going prayer and reflection, combined with the COVID-19 lockdown measures which have made weddings rare and very difficult to host, they have decided that it is time for a new season for them and for their farm. As such, Beloftebos will no longer be available as a wedding venue to the general public, and the link on their website with reference to weddings has been removed.
Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR SA) is a legal advocacy group mandated to protect and promote the constitutional rights of all South Africans, regardless of their specific religious or ideological beliefs. FOR SA is therefore ideologically neutral and non-partisan in terms of any interpretation of doctrine, faith or belief to the extent that it complies with the rule of law.
For more information, contact:
Executive Director, FOR SA
Email: [email protected]
Cell: 072 270 1217