Around 100 people marched to the Union Buildings today to protest against the controversial Civil Union Bill.
While some expressed disappointment at the lower than expected turnout, the vibrant group was in high spirits as it was led by police from the City Hall to the Union Buildings.
The protestors – including a small group of traditional healers that support same-sex marriage – chanted slogans demanding equality and held up placards denouncing the Civil Union Bill, which seeks to create a separate form of “marriage” for same-sex couples outside of the Marriage Act.
Many human rights groups have slammed the bill as discriminatory and probably unconstitutional as it does not give gay and lesbian relationships equal status to those of heterosexuals. Public submissions are being heard in Parliament today on the bill.
One of the march’s organisers, Michael Smolinsky from Jewish Outlook, expressed his satisfaction with the protest, saying that, “It was very successful given the short time we had to organise it”, adding that he was particularly happy with the diversity of people that took part.
Once the group reached the steps of the Union Buildings Smolinsky read out the contents of a memorandum opposing the Civil Union Bill to the protesters. He then handed the memorandum to Mr Norman Nangaramashya, acting deputy director general Civic Services with the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Nangaramashya promised that he would in turn hand over the document to the Minister of Home Affairs
“It was a powerful message and it was wonderful to give people the opportunity to express themselves,” said Smolinsky.