n Annual Survey of South African Law - Law of persons and family law

Volume 2006, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0376-4605



The Civil Union Act 17 of 2006 came into operation on 30 November 2006, following the Constitutional Court's decision in 2006 (1) SA 524 (CC), 2006 (3) BCLR 355 which held that the common law definition of marriage as embodied in the Marriage Act of 25 of 1961 was inconsistent with the Constitution because it unfairly discriminated against same-sex couples, who were unable to enjoy the status, benefits and responsibilities which flow from a recognised heterosexual marriage. The court gave Parliament 12 months to correct the legal defect and to provide for the legal recognition of same-sex marriages (para 162).

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