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Civil Unions

In November 2006, following a long line of court cases recognising certain rights and responsibilities in same-sex partnerships, the Civil Union Act 17 of 2006 came into effect. This law provides for the legal recognition of marriages and civil partnerships, collectively referred to as civil unions, between two persons regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. 

The Civil Union Act is in line with the Constitutional Court judgment in the case of Lesbian and gay Equality Project and Eighteen others v Minister of Home Affairs and others which found that the common law definition of marriage in the Marriage Act was inconsistent with the Constitution and was invalid to the extent that it did not allow same-sex couples to enjoy the same status, benefits and responsibilities given to heterosexual couples.

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