The Civil Union Bill has been passed by Parliament’s National Council of Provinces, paving the way for President Mbeki to sign the Act into law. The Bill received 26 votes in favour, 11 against and one abstention.

The legislation was approved by the National Assembly last week following considerable opposition from most parties – excluding the ANC, who forced its MPs to vote for it.

Now that it has also been passed by the National Council of Provinces, the law must be signed by the President; its final hurdle.

President Mbeki has until Friday to sign the Act to meet the Constitutional Court’s deadline. Should he not sign the law in time, the existing Marriage Act will automatically change to legalise same-sex unions.

Opposition parties claim that the Bill is not supported by the majority of South African and have demanded that Constitution be amended.

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