Last-gasp bid to stop signing of gay bill
Religious leaders have made a last-ditch attempt in parliament to convince politicians to scrap the controversial law that will allow gays and lesbians to marry.
Errol Naidoo of His People's Church and Magboeba Davids of the Islamic Unity Convention appealed to members of the National Council of Provinces' social services committee yesterday to not allow the law to be passed by the December 1 deadline.
Naidoo said he did not agree with the Civil Union Bill, but would rather choose "the lesser of two evils" by having the law passed.
He said far worse would be to have the Marriage Act amended, as ruled by the constitutional court if parliament did not provide equal rights for gays and lesbians.
This would mean the word spouse would replace the words "man" and "woman" in the Marriage Act.
Naidoo, as he has done previously, again appealed to MPs to exclude the word marriage from the bill.
Davids quoted the words of United Christian Democratic Party MP, Edmund Pule, who has criticised the ANC for giving the impression that the liberation struggle was in favour of "sodomy and not freedom".
But in response ANC MP Bagudi Tolo said the law would not take any rights away from people, but would protect the rights of minorities. He also rejected suggestions of a referendum.
The Council of Provinces will vote on the bill on Tuesday, after which President Thabo Mbeki will have a few days to study it and decide whether to sign it into law before the December 1 deadline.