Update: There has been a route change. The march will now commence at Pretoria City Hall at 11h30, Cnr Visagie and Potgieter Street, NOT at Sammy Marks Square at 12h00.
In what is being seen as one of the most important moments for gay rights in South Africa, a number of LGBT organisations are staging a march in Pretoria on Tuesday 17 October at 12h00 to protest against the Civil Unions Bill.
The organisations – including Jewish OutLook, OUT, FEW, GALA, Behind the Mask and Activate – are calling on the gay and lesbian community to join the march. Mambaonline urges you to take part.
The event aims to signify the united stance of the gay community on the Civil Unions Bill that is due to be discussed in Parliament, also on 17 October. The bill allows gay and lesbian people to form a civil partnership, however, most activists feel that civil partnerships are not equivalent to marriage.
Critics say that the bill will entrench institutional segregation in law and a lead to a separate, inferior status for gay relationships. This has been seen as being in defiance of the Constitutional Court ruling which ordered parliament to ensure that gay people are accorded the same status as heterosexual people in law. The only way to do this, say the event’s organisers, is to amend the Marriage Act by including the words “or spouse” into the marriage formula and definition of marriage.
The march will commence at Sammy Marks in Pretoria and then move to the Union Buildings, where the group will stage a further demonstration and hand an official memorandum to a representative of government. The memorandum states the organisations’ unequivocal opposition to the Civil Unions Bill and calls on Parliament to adopt a universal, gender neutral Marriage Act.
The march will take place on the same day that the parliamentary hearings on the bill commence, so it is seen as important that it has a large turnout. Those wishing to participate should meet at Sammy Marks Square: Cnr. Vermeulen and Prinsloo Streets (secure parking available) by 12h00.
“Your presence will not only be a stand against inequality, it will demonstrate that the gay community will not be ignored, will not be defied and will not tolerate discriminatory treatment. This is an opportunity to change the course of South African history”, says a statement by the march’s organisers.
If you have questions about the march, please contact any of the organisers below:
Jewish OutLook (Michael)
Cell: 083 411 5780
OUT (Delene & Fikile)
Tel: 012 344 5108
FEW (Donna Smith)
Forum for the Empowerment of Women
Tel: 011 339 1867
Gay And Lesbian Archives
Tel: 011 717 1785
Behind the Mask ( Thuli Madi )
Tel: 011 403 5566