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Lesbian couple fights for marriage in South Africa

Lesbian couple fights for marriage in South Africa

A lesbian couple went to the Supreme Court of Appeal in South Africa on Monday to challenge that country's definition of marriage. Marie Fourie and Cecelia Bonthuys are seeking to overturn a decision by the Pretoria High Court last year that rejected their request to have their marriage legally recognized, Agence France-Presse reports. "Marriage is a mechanism through which heterosexuals automatically get certain rights and privileges. The one thing that keeps homosexuals from the same rights is a single line in the common law," their lawyer, Pieter Oosthuizen, told the court in Bloemfontein, about 300 miles south of Johannesburg. Under South African law, marriage is defined as a union of one man and one woman, making it impossible for same-sex couples to get married. Oosthuizen said marriage is a contract between two people who agree to change their status, the SAPA news agency reported. "It's this status change that gives them access to certain rights and privileges, which they normally would not have." The lawyer cited provisions in the constitution stating that all people should be treated equally before the law: "If this is a discrimination against their sexual orientation, it is unfair and more than enough reason for the appeal to be granted." The court has yet to set a judgment date.

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