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SOUTH AFRICAN MARRIAGE CASE REJECTED
by REX WOCKNER
2003-08-13

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SOUTH AFRICAN MARRIAGE CASE REJECTED

South Africa's Constitutional Court July 31 dismissed a lesbian couple's appeal of the Pretoria High Court's refusal to let them legally marry.

The Constitutional Court said the case should be heard first by the Supreme Court of Appeal because it raises complex questions related to South Africa's common law.

Marie Fourie and Cecilia Bonthuys had argued that the ban on same-sex marriage violates the South African constitution which bans all discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Following the ruling, the Lesbian and Gay Equality Project announced it will file a class-action suit in the Johannesburg High Court challenging the common-law definition of marriage, which recognizes only male-female unions.

BISHOP: CHRÉTIEN MAY GO TO HELL

The Catholic bishop of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Fred Henry, says Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien may go to hell for his support of same-sex marriage.

'He's putting at risk his eternal salvation,' Henry said July 31. 'He's making a morally grave error and he's not being accountable to God.'

Canada is in the process of legalizing full same-sex marriage nationwide after courts in Ontario and British Columbia legalized it in those provinces in June and July. Foreign couples can marry in the two provinces as well. They can buy a marriage license and get married the same day.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops took issue with Henry's statement.

'It's not the sort of language that the rest of the bishops would employ,' said conference General Secretary Monsignor Peter Schonenbach.

Michael Leshner, half of Canada's first married same-sex couple, called Henry's remarks 'appalling.'

'It's sickening, it's obnoxious and it's got to stop,' Leshner told Toronto's Globe and Mail. 'I think the bishop has eaten too much mad cow.'

CANADIAN CATHOLICS SUPPORT GAY MARRIAGE

A new Environics poll found that 57 percent of Catholic Canadians support same-sex couples' access to full marriage.

Same-sex marriage is available now in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia, where it was legalized by courts this summer. The federal government is in the process of extending those rulings nationally.

Only 38 percent of Protestants polled in favor of gay marriage. Overall, 53 percent of Canadians approve.

The survey, taken between June 12 and July 6, also found women more supportive (58 percent) than men (49 percent) and people age 18-29 more supportive (65 percent) than people over 60 (33 percent).

The survey's margin of error is 2.2 percent 19 times out of 20.

Foreigners can buy a marriage license and get married the same day in both Ontario and British Columbia.


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