Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng
Controversial Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has insisted that he will ensure that gay people’s constitutional rights are upheld.
Mogoeng faced a firestorm after he recently called for religion to be brought into the law at a conference at the University of Stellenbosch.
“I believe that we can only become a better people if religion could be allowed to influence the laws that govern our family lives, starting with the Constitution of any country,” he said at the time.
On Wednesday, Mogoeng held a press briefing at the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg to offer a “comprehensive response to the questions and issues raised” by his speech.
The Chief Justice, who is a lay pastor in a Nigerian based Christian church that believes that homosexuality can be cured, insisted that he would never “give precedence to my faith at the expense of the Constitution” and that he would “uphold the Constitution, the laws and the human rights.”
According to SAPA, he said: “I know as a Christian that the Bible speaks against homosexuality, but I have taken an oath and I am very serious about my oath.
“Justice is not supposed to be perverted, to begin to get at those who are gay and lesbian just because of their choice,” he said, reiterating the belief held by many religious groups that sexual orientation is a “choice” and not a human condition.
“My responsibility is to ensure that every gay person, every lesbian person enjoys their right as protected by the bill of rights. There’s no question about that,” he added.
Despite having to defend his remarks, Mogoeng said that he did not regret giving the speech, and continued to argue that basic religious principles could assist with “moral regeneration” in Africa, reported the Mail & Guardian.
He also urged religious groups to take part in the consultative process before laws are passed so as to have an influence on the lawmaking process.
Mogoeng’s appointment to the position of Chief Justice by President Zuma in 2011 was fraught with controversy after civil society and LGBTI groups questioned the appropriateness of his nomination because of his perceived religious and conservative biases.