Policy: Green Paper on Marriages draws mixed reaction

Cabinet’s approval of the publication of the Green Paper on Marriages for public consultation has received mixed reactions, says a Cape Argus report. Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams said the paper seeks to work towards the development of a new single marriage Bill and aligns the marriage regime with the constitutional principle of equality. ‘It makes proposals on unions of people from all sexual orientations, religious and cultural persuasions. It also proposes the complete removal of child marriages in SA’s future marriage regime.’

However, Al Jama-ah leader Ganief Hendricks warned that if the government went ahead with the Green Paper proposals, Muslims would conduct a defiance campaign. Hendricks said government is trying to circumvent the SCA judgment that it must pass a Muslim Marriage Act by October 2022. ‘We have written a letter of protest to the office of the ANC secretary-general and hoping to arrange a virtual meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa.’ ACDP MP Steven Swart questioned the need for spending much-needed state funds on developing a single marriage Bill. ‘In our view, these matters, including the much-anticipated recognition of Muslim and Hindu religious marriages, can be dealt with relatively quickly by amending existing marriage laws.’ However, the SA Hindu Maha Sabha said the Green Paper on Marriages was long overdue. Its President Ashwin Trikamjee said: ‘We have been concerned about the non-recognition of traditional Hindu marriages and the inherent discrimination. We were consulted and provided input in the formulation of the new policy.’

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