The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) has tabled a Private Members Bill in the South African parliament with the stated aim to “protect the common law definition of marriage as being the voluntary union of a man and a woman”.
The ACDP’s Justice and Constitutional Development spokesperson, Steve Swart said in a media statement: “we are disappointed with the Civil Union Bill in that it does not protect the traditional institution of marriage. We appreciate, however, that this bill is a result of the Constitutional Court’s decision in the Fourie case in 2005, which set very narrow parameters within which Parliament could legislate. The Bill allows for full same-sex marriages, which goes further than the international norm with civil unions. We clearly cannot support this.”
The ACDP has insisted that rather than changing the law to accommodate the Constitutional Court ruling which found the current Marriage Act unconstitutional, the Constitution should be amended by inserting a definition of marriage in section 39 of the Constitution to read that “a marriage is a voluntary union of a man and a woman.”
“This is the amendment we seek to achieve by means of the Private Members Bill and which we believe is supported by the majority of South Africans,” Swart said.
The ACDP says that is also very concerned that there will be insufficient time for comprehensive public participation in the consideration of various options, including the Civil Union Bill, as well as the ACDP’s proposed constitutional amendment.
It says that is particularly relevant following the dispute between the Minister of Home Affairs and the state legal advisers as to the constitutionality of the Civil Union Bill, which may also delay the legislation.
The ACDP says further that, “In view of the huge public interest in this matter, consideration should be given to approaching the Constitutional Court for an extension of the one year period within which to comply with the court order”.
The party has also called on its supporters to take part in planned anti same-sex protest marches scheduled for the 16th of September in major cities around the country. The marches are being organised by the “Marriage Alliance of South Africa”.