Constitutional law expert Karthy Govender applauded the latest version of the Civil Union Bill as one of the most far-reaching pieces of legislation on gay and lesbian rights in the world.
The legislation was passed in the national assembly this week .
Govender said: "During democracy about 800 racially-based laws have been changed.
"But it took pressure from the gay and lesbian community [who took cases to court] to make real the constitutional right to freedom from discrimination based on sexual orientation."
Nonhlanhla Mkhize, director of the Durban Gay and Lesbian Centre, said: "Not many people understand that the bill also covers domestic partnerships."