The schedule of public hearings on the Civil Unions Bill has been released with less than 24 hours notice, angering Gauteng activists. Public hearings on the Bill will begin tomorrow in Soweto, moving to other provinces and culminating in hearings in Parliament on October 20.
The controversial Civil Unions Bill aims to legalise same-sex partnerships in order to fulfil an order of the Constitutional Court to legalise same-sex marriage. It is being opposed by LGBT organisations as it proposes a separate form of gay unions instead of including same-sex marriage in the existing Marriage Act.
To view the full schedule of hearings, click here.
Calls have been made for the public to attend the hearings tomorrow to protest again the Bill tomorrow. OUT has called on the community to also urgently complete a petition against the bill. You can download a Word version of the petition here
In the meantime, a parliamentary debate on the Civil Unions Bill was postponed today due to insufficient time for the Home Affairs Committee to prepare.
Home Affairs Portfolio Committee chairperson Patrick Chauke told Parliament that he had not been advised of the debate in good time and that officials are out of town because of the planned public hearings.
The Civil Unions Bill was set to be one of the first non-financial bills to undergo a first reading debate in the National Assembly. Chauke had previously questioned the wisdom of this saying that it might impact on the programme for the public hearings.
No new date has been set for the debate.
Several thousand Christians protested against the Bill and same-sex marriage this Saturday in cities around the country, and presented a memorandum to Chauke outside of parliament.
You can contact OUT at:
Tel: 012 344 5108 (tel)
Fax: 012 344 6501 (fax)
To view the proposed bill, click here (PDF document).
Click here for more information on how you can play a part in the letter-writing and petition campaign.