oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Competing custody rights: new concepts of 'family' and the best interests of the child

Volume 31, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



In South Africa, although there have been some comprehensive studies of the position of gays and lesbians, and although homosexuality enjoys greater acceptance than it did in Oscar Wilde's late nineteenth century England, much prejudice still exists in the South African law relating to parent and child. Stigma against such persons is still entrenched, to the extent that even to call someone a gay or lesbian has been considered defamatory. The enactment of the Bill of Rights in the Constitution supposedly heralds the dawn of a new era in which there is equality between all persons and equality is supposed to include the full and equal enjoyment of all rights and freedoms and that no person may be unfairly discriminated against, directly or indirectly, on various grounds including sexual orientation. However, in any case involving children, the child's best interests are of paramount importance and in all such cases children's rights will trump opposing rights.

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