WHAT IS AT STAKE?
The South African government is planning a range of amendments to our country’s Marriage legislation; that although it seems fairly noble on some fronts – will have far ranging implications for the meaning of marriage, and infringe the rights of those that officiate it.
The Department of Home Affairs has invited the South African public, that is you and I, to comment on some of the contentious issues they are considering changing in our Marriage legislation, including:
- Polygamy and polyandry – marriages with more than two spouses
- Child marriages – whether people younger than 18 should be able to get married
- Compelling marriage officers to solemnise all types of marriages, even those that violate their conscience or sincerely-held religious convictions about marriage
This is but one more example of government proposals which, if adopted, will erode our freedom of speech and our freedom of religion.
We have an opportunity to stem the tide, but only if we raise our voices – ALL OF US!
Watch this short video by CFJ attorney, Ryan Smit, explaining what is at stake.
HERE’S HOW YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
The Department has asked the public to fill in an anonymous questionnaire to air their views on these contentious matters. The initial deadline for comment was is 31 July 2021. At the end of July however the Department extended the deadline to 10 August 2021
We have tried to make it as easy as possible for you to participate and air your views.
You can either –
Make your voice matter by raising your voice in the defence of marriage, family values and the freedom to live out your faith without fear – TODAY!
The LAST DAY to send in your response is: 10 August 2021.
Download a Pre-populated response
Write Your Own Response
i. Download the document of your choice above.
ii. Complete the demographic information section on the first page AND –
- If you don’t agree with everything in our pre-populated answers, amend answers to reflect your views.
- If you are writing your own response from scratch, complete the answers sections to all questions.
iii. Save the document to your device.
iv. Send the saved document via e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org .
- Insert our address – email@example.com – in the BCC field of your e-mail*. This will enable us to track submissions made to the Department.
- *(We will not use your e-mail address for any purpose without your consent.)
WHAT IS OUR POSITION?
In a nutshell, our position is that:
- If there is not evidence that polygamy or polyandry is good for spouses, children born of the relationship, and for communities and society at large, why would the state give legal recognition to it. Just because certain relationships exist, and people may want the law to recognise it, are not adequate reasons for the state to do so.
- As a general rule, marriage should be restricted to adults. In acknowledgment that some children may reach a level of maturity where they can make an informed decision about marriage before the age of 18, we would support a narrow exception to the general rule for children 16 years or older – subject to appropriate oversight from parents, and the court or another public authority.
- Neither religious, nor state-employed marriage officers should be forced to solemnise marriages that violate their conscience or religious convictions about marriage. If the state were to fail to accommodate such conscientious objections, it will be violating marriage officers’ constitutional rights.
For more detail about our position:
- Read the detailed answers document to the DHA Marriage Questionnaire here.
- Read our Op-Ed in the Mail and Guardian here.
- Read a summary of our position here.
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