Thursday, December 01, 2005

South Africa legalizes gay marriage

South Africa's Constitutional Court has ruled that banning gay marriage violates South Africa's constitution, which bars discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Parliament has one year to change the law before the ruling goes into effect automatically.

What's fascinating to my mind is that this is apparently a complete non-issue politically. According to the NY Times,
But homosexuality here is not the sort of burning social issue that it is on the American political right. ... "It's not one of our political fault lines," said Steven E. Friedman, a top political analyst at Johannesburg's Center for Political Studies, a nonprofit research center. "The major issue in this society is race. That's why people join political parties. The party of social conservatism is the African Christian Democratic Party, which wins 1 percent of the vote. And that's the group of people who feel that this justifies amending the constitution."
I know very little about South Africa - can anyone out there explain why this is so, especially given that the lack of political mobilization against gay rights is apparently not accompanied by a similar societal tolerance for gay people (at least according to the Washington Post's article)?

3 Comments:

Anonymous Altus said...

We have so many social, and economic problems amongst the majority of the population, that I don't think that people have the time or the energy to worry about this.
The majority of the population is probably quite homophobic, but politial issues revolve around jobs, Aids, education, health care etc.
We have a few religious nuts who are trying to import US style fundie issues like abortian (also completely legal) and gay rights.
Unfortunately for them, the ruling ANC (70% of the vote) is a left of centre movement in alliance with the South African communist party.
The constitution also explicitly forbades discrimination due to sexual orientation.
The fundies know they have no chance.

12/02/2005 06:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Winsconsin radio said...

We have so many social, and economic problems amongst the majority of the population, that I don't think that people have the time or the energy to worry about this.The majority of the population is probably quite homophobic, but politial issues revolve around jobs, Aids, education, health care etc.We have a few religious nuts who are trying to import US style fundie issues like abortian (also completely legal) and gay rights.Unfortunately for them, the ruling ANC (70% of the vote) is a left of centre movement in alliance with the South African communist party.The constitution also explicitly forbades discrimination due to sexual orientation. The fundies know they have no chance.

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