Gay rights protected, Parliament insists

2012-09-07 22:20

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Cape Town - Parliament has not endorsed a proposal to do away with the protection of gay rights, the national legislature's joint constitutional review committee (JCRC) said on Friday.

The committee said National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu referred a letter from organisations representing the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community to it, wherein it was alleged Parliament was seriously considering such a move.

"The authors of this letter [the SA Protection Coalition] claim, among other things, that the JCRC has accepted a proposal to remove sexual orientation as a ground for discrimination in terms of the Bill of Rights contained in the Constitution," said JCRC member Andre Gaum.

Gaum denied the claim.

"The JCRC places on record that it has at no stage agreed to a proposal to weaken or amend rights relating to sexual orientation contained in the Constitution. Statements made outside the committee cannot and should not be attributed to the JCRC."

In the letter, dated 17 May, and addressed to Sisulu, the coalition accuses the committee of accepting a proposal by the Mpumalanga house of traditional leaders to remove the protection against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation from the Bill of Rights.

Sisulu later wrote a letter to JCRC co-chair Patekile Holomisa to accept submissions from groups representing the LGBTI community.

Sisulu also expressed concerns in his communication with Holomisa.

"You will appreciate that your membership of the national house of traditional leaders could be perceived as a conflict of interest. Consideration should therefore be given to your recusal when the matter serves before the committee," Sisulu said at the time.

Read more on:    max sisulu  |  parliament 2012  |  legislation  |  gay rights
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