Today, 12 years ago, Lesbian couple paves way for same sex marriage in SA

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A gay rights activist holds a placard during a rally supporting same-sex marriage, in Sydney, Australia May 31, 2015. Bill Shorten, leader of Australia's opposition Labour Party introduced a bill to legalise same-sex marriage on June 1, 2015, adding the backing of a major party to growing public support for the issue after last month's landmark 'yes' vote in Ireland. Shorten introduced the bill, the first by a leader of a major Australian political party, in the government-dominated lower house of parliament despite opposition from conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who is not expected to allow it to come up for a vote. Picture taken May 31, 2015. REUTERS/David Gray - RTR4YA1I

After a lengthy battle, the Supreme Court of Appeals (SCA) granted Marie Fourie and her partner, Cecelia Bonthuys the right to get married as a same sex couple on 30 November.

The couple, who had been dating for 12 years, had been refused the right to marry on the basis of the common law of interpretation of marriage in October 2002.

Bonthuys and Fourie challenged the ruling in court based on the equal rights provision in South Africa’s constitution.

When the SCA passed judgement the couple thought they’d succeeded in gaining equal standing with heterosexuals but were unable to register for a church wedding.

Eventually, South Africa became the first country in Africa, and the fifth in the world to legalise gay marriage after Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Canada.

South Africa formally legalized gay marriage on November 30th, 2006.

Source: South African History Online

Compiled by Moeketsi Mogotsi