Ten years after its first

Ten years after its first truly democratic election, South Africa, from the ashes of Apartheid, is now more equal and free than 49 of the United States of America:

A lesbian couple’s appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal to have their marriage legally recognised and registered succeeded on Tuesday.

The court, in a majority decision, declared that under the Constitution the common law concept of marriage was to be developed to embrace same-sex partners.

The appeal, brought by Marie Fourie and Cecelia Bonthuys, in essence challenged the definition of marriage under South African common law.

According to common law, marriage is the union of one man and one woman. This made it impossible for same-sex couples to be married to each other.

On Tuesday, Judge of Appeal Edwin Cameron said in his judgement that the definition of marriage should read: “Marriage is the union of two persons to the exclusion of all others for life.”

The court also declared that the intended marriage between Fourie and Bonthuys was capable of lawful recognition as a legally valid marriage, provided the formalities in the Marriage Act of 1961 were complied with.

Via Andy Sullivan. This is particularly amazing, as homophobia is simply endemic in South Africa. All I can say is that I hope our court follows suit. Oh, and congratulations to all the soon-to-be-married gay and lesbian couples in South Africa. Free at last.

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