The state’s chief legal advisor has described the Civil Union Bill as “unconstitutional”, vindicating LGBT groups who have made the same claims about the controversial legislation.

The Pretoria New reports that state law adviser Enver Daniels has described the Civil Union Bill as unconstitutional and discriminatory because it allows marriage officers the option of refusing to “marry” same-sex couples should they have a moral objection to the union. Another state legal advisor, Mukesh Vassen, concurred with Daniels’ assessment of the bill.

Daniels made the statement to MPs in Parliament in a discussion on the bill, which the government aims to have made law before December 1, in response to the Constitutional Court’s ruling compelling it to legalise same-sex marriage.

LGBT groups have long argued that the bill will not meet the spirit of the Constitutional Court’s order for a number of reasons, including the fact that “same-sex unions” do not have the same weight as traditional “marriage”. Conservative religious groups also oppose the proposed law.

Daniels warned that should the bill be passed by parliament, it would most certainly be challenged in the Constitutional Court and would probably be declared unconstitutional.

Nonhlanhla Mkhize, director of the Durban Gay and Lesbian Community and Health Center, said that the Department of Home Affairs’ public hearings had “engaged the whole country in a meaningless exercise [because] the bill was flawed to start with”.

Lirette Louw, an attorney from the Justice Department however disagreed, stating that the Bill satisfied all the criteria laid out by the Court.

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