The minister who will marry two gay men who won a radio competition, but who have never actually met, has defended his role in the ceremony.

The two men have only “gotten to know each other” over the airwaves of Cape Town’s Heart 104.9FM. On Saturday the masked grooms will walk hand in hand to the altar where their identities will be revealed to each other and to the public for the first time.

As part of the competition, the unidentified men (one 35 and the other 29) have won an all expenses paid fantasy wedding worth R1.4m and a lavish honeymoon abroad to the value of R40 000. The 35-metre yacht, Nautilus, berthed at the V&A Waterfront, on the Pierhead adjacent to Quay 4 will host the ceremony and reception.

The couple were selected over eight weeks on Phat Joe’s daily breakfast show with potential grooms for the first five contestants interviewed live on air by a “panel of highly regarded experts”.

The competition has generated considerable controversy in Cape Town, with some of the station’s listeners expressing their opposition to same-sex marriage and “gay people’s rights to eternal life in heaven”.

According to Reverend Daniel Brits, the non-denominational minister who will marry the couple, “humans are in the habit of classifying people according to their physical matter instead of their spiritual matter. There is no difference between one soul and another soul. Therefore we are all entitled to enter into heaven”.

Despite additional criticism of the method through which the two men were brought together, many seeing it as an outrageous publicity stunt, Reverend Brits is unrepentant at taking part in the ceremony.

“It’s wonderful that Heart 104.9FM has taken the initiative to conduct this competition in the manner in which they are doing it. All role players have been brought together to assist in the selection of this couple and are setting a wonderful example of how serious a wedding should be taken,” he said.

Heart104.9FM has invited listeners to attend the wedding ceremony from a viewing area adjacent to the wedding location at the V&A Waterfront.

“There are plenty of glamorous surprises in store for the wedding party that will have them grinning from ear to ear and make their experience simply unforgettable,” said the radio station.

Do you think that the competition is in bad taste? Does it diminish same-sex marriage or highlight LGBT rights? Have your say below.

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