Another same-sex couple have become victims of religious bigotry after they were told to remove their five-year-old child from an Mpumalanga Christian school.
The Star reported on Wednesday that Kally (26) and Samantha Mabe (27) enrolled their son at the Secunda Highveld Christian School earlier this year.
They said that while they were always open with the school about their sexuality they were recently called into a meeting with the principal after their son told a teacher that he has “two mothers”.
The couple said that the principal claimed that she could not remember being informed that the two women were married and accused them of falsifying the information on their enrolment application.
She principal insisted that a pastor be brought in to deal with the matter.
“The pastor said that if they had known we were a lesbian couple, they would never have allowed our son in the school,” Kally said.
“He said the school was a Christian private school that offered alternative education of Christian values for children of normal husbands and wives, and that we were trying to rewrite the school rules and compromising their values.
“He said I could either walk away from my lifestyle and have him stay at the school, or I should take the child out of the school, because he was worried that other children would make fun of him or isolate him,” she said.
The pastor threatened legal action if the child was not taken out of the school. The couple have refused to do so and have consulted lawyers on the matter.
“What really hurts me is that this happened on the days leading to Human Rights Day, and I feel like if I don’t fight for myself and other people going through this, then I’d be the fool,” Kally said.
The Mpumalanga Department of Education, which provides some funding to the otherwise private school, said that it is investigating the matter.
SA Human Rights Commission spokesman Isaac Mangena confirmed to The Star that “pupils cannot be discriminated against based on their sexual or religious orientation, or that of their parents”.
There have been a number of recent cases in which gays and lesbians have been illegally denied services by companies or organisations because of their sexual orientation.
Earlier this week it was reported that an engaged Paarl couple was snubbed by the Diemerskraal farm wedding venue because they’re gay. The owners refused to allow them to have their wedding at the venue because they were “not at peace with the situation”.
The South African Human Rights Commission also recently found that the Christian-based Creare Training Centre in Bloemfontein had violated the rights of gays and lesbians by barring them from attending the institution.
Under the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act of 2000 individuals, companies, organisations and government departments cannot discriminate against anyone on the grounds of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation or religion/belief.