PLEASE NOTE:

MyNews24 is a user-generated section of News24.com. The stories here come from users.

 
MissPillay
 
Comments: 2
Article views: 393
 
 
Latest Badges:

 
View all MissPillay's badges.
 

LGBTI Equality, back to the closet?

14 May 2014, 12:16

In recent years, there has been a marked proliferation in the legalisation of same sex marriages and civil unions, in countries across the world. If the world had a coming out party, 2013 would have been it. Same sex marriages and civil unions are now legal in 17 countries across the world, the most recent of which is Wales (Provisions of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act[1] allowing same sex couples to marry, came into force on 13 March 2014), in addition to an increasing number of American nations.

However the emergence of LGBTI rights to the fore, and corresponding trend of the legalization of same sex marriages and civil unions, has been accompanied by substantial backlash from countries where homophobia is an engrained cultural phenomenon. This has been achieved by the promulgation of inherently homophobic legislation, generally characterized by harsh punitive sanctioning of homosexual activity.

Two countries sprouting recent homophobic legislation arise from the African continent, namely Nigeria and Uganda. The Ugandan Anti- Homosexuality Act[2] was signed into law on 24 February 2014, whilst similar legislation[3] was promulgated in Nigeria on 13 January 2014.

The aforementioned legislation has not only served as a legal instrument to condone, and further to codify homophobic practices within their respective countries, but is indicative of an alarming trend in African countries to criminalize homosexuality. (Homosexuality is criminalized in 38 African countries.)

South Africa is the only country on the African continent, and in the world, where LGBTI citizens are afforded constitutional protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. This is attributable to a historical struggle for LGBTI rights, culminating in the identification and inclusion of sexual orientation as a ground of discrimination, in Section 9 of the South African Constitution[4].  In addition, LGBTI citizens enjoy several of the rights and privileges afforded to their heterosexual counterparts, through periodic legislative intervention in respect of inter alia, the right to spousal benefits[5], adoption[6] and marriage[7] by the South African judiciary.

In theory, the South African legislative framework provides a secure environment for the promotion of equality for LGBTI citizens. The reality however, is quite different, and involves the tenuous struggle between constitutional ideals and African traditionalism.

In 2012, the National House of Traditional Leaders submitted a suggestion to the Constitutional Review Committee, proffering the removal of sexual orientation as a listed category from Section 9 of the Constitution[8], stating “The ANC was aware that the great majority does not want to give promotion and protection to these things.”

Therefore, it came as no surprise when South African government offered an effective non response to the promulgation of the Anti- Homosexuality Act[9] adopted by Uganda, in Parliament earlier this month. Despite calls from the South African Human Rights Commission for the condemnation of the Bill, President Jacob Zuma ambiguously stated, "South Africa respects the sovereign rights of other countries to adopt their own legislation. In this regard, through diplomatic channels South Africa engages with Uganda on areas of mutual concern bearing in mind Uganda's sovereignty."

What was required from the South African government was a clear and unequivocal stance against the Anti- Homosexuality Act[10] adopted by Uganda. This would have been symbolic of South Africa’s recognition of past injustice, and a commitment to an identifiable human right’s struggle, which is the cornerstone of our constitutional democracy.

In this respect the Democratic Alliance is commended, in their attempt to pass a motion in Parliament condemning the Anti- Homosexuality Act adopted by Uganda[11]. Whilst the motion was rejected “in its entirety”, the efforts of the Democratic Alliance in furthering the “gay agenda” are not only reflective of the values upon which our constitutional democracy is founded, but is indicative of an unwavering commitment to policy, irrespective of the consequences arising from conservative quarters during the throes of election season.

The non response on behalf of South African government relegated the plight of LGBTI citizens, in South Africa and abroad, to a non issue instead of a human rights struggle. It left a disparate and often unrepresented sector of society voiceless, and indirectly pushed the struggle for LGBTI equality back into the closet.



[1] Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act, 2014.

[2] Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014.

[3] Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill, 2011.

[4] Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996.

[5] Satchwell v President of the Republic of South Africa and Another 2002 (6) SA 1 (CC).

[6] Du Toit and Another v Minister of Welfare and Population Development and Others 2003 (5) SA 621 (CC).

[7] Lesbian and Gay Equality Project and Eighteen Others v Minister of Home Affairs 2006 (1) SA 524 (CC).

[8] Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996.

[9] Anti- Homosexuality Act, 2014.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Anti- Homosexuality Act, 2014.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Ann Muigai
Gratitude is not just Courtesy; i...

Having a positive frame of mind at least once per day is very crucial in our everyday life. All of us have bad days and annoying moments.  Read more...

0 comments 39 views
Submitted by
ohomen171
Six Tense Hours In The Emergency ...

My dear friends Saturday Elena and I joyously celebrated 15 years together. Read more...

3 comments 71 views
Submitted by
Craig Pedersen738
"We condem in the strongest terms...

Who hasn't head this copy and paste lifeless response to the killing of a Police Officer in South Africa? Read more...

2 comments 102 views
Submitted by
Conlea Geldenhuys
Standard Bank Services Down

I am a bit concerned about Standard Bank. Read more...

4 comments 126 views
Submitted by
Beezy
Aliens and Satan

Satan and his crew are not naturalised citizens of earth, they are from another world.  Read more...

25 comments 551 views
Submitted by
EricdeCarlos
CCTV – False sense of security?

We’ve all seen it: CCTV footage of robberies in shops, stores, and in the homes of citizens living in this crime ridden country of ours. What purpose do they serve? Read more...

10 comments 241 views
 

services

E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on Android Get the latest from News24 on your Android device.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Blogs Your opinion on you, me and everyone.

TV Get us in your home, on your television.

 
Interactive Advertising Bureau
 
© 2015 24.com. All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.