15 November 2006
Contact: Sally E. Hall 021 852-0473 or 082 255-0473
CIVIL UNIONS BILL
Human Life International deeply regrets the passage of the Civil Unions Bill yesterday, which effectively legalises same-sex “marriage” in South Africa.
Despite vehement opposition to the Civil Unions Bill, during public hearings around the country, the views of ordinary South Africans have been ignored. The large amount of time, effort and resources expended by the Department of Home Affairs on conducting public hearings have been largely wasted.
We not only oppose this legislation itself, but we also deplore the undemocratic way in which it was passed. In the name of granting constitutional rights, the ruling party has ignored the constitutional rights of their own MP’s to exercise their freedom of conscience and belief, by forcing them, on pain of penalty, to vote in favour of this bill. Despite much opposition from within the party, MP’s toed the party line and voted in favour of the bill.
The Freedom Charter of 1955 proclaims, ‘No government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of all the people’. This piece of legislation expressly contravenes the will of most South Africans, as well as the overwhelming majority of Churches, and the House of Traditional Leaders.
Homosexual persons have the same rights and privileges as all South Africans. Certainly we do not support unjust discrimination against those with a homosexual orientation, and believe that all of us are entitled to the same respect and dignity that is due to us as human persons. However, we believe that this law grants homosexual persons ‘special rights’ to which they are not entitled.
Marriage is an institution that predates the notion of the nation state, and certainly the Constitution of our Republic. This institution is something that exists in it’s own truth. It is the union of a man and a woman, a lifelong partnership, ordered towards the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children. The law of any parliament cannot alter this reality. It is a truth, which exists, willed by God and unchangeable. It is simply not possible to have a marriage between two persons of the same sex.
We reiterate the position of the Church, expressed in the document: “Considerations Regarding Proposals to give Legal recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons”, released by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith “The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions. The common good requires that laws recognize, promote and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society. Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behaviour, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity. The Church cannot fail to defend these values, for the good of men and women and for the good of society itself”
We therefore lament the passage of this Bill and continue to call for a Constitutional Amendment to defend the true definition of marriage.