South Africa must be the only country in the world where – on paper, at least – same-sex couples enjoy more legal protection than heterosexual couples. Before same-sex marriage was legalised in South Africa, the Constitutional Court extended many of the legal rights and privileges associated with marriage to some same-sex couples. However, influenced by a rather moralistic view of marriage, it declined to extend the appropriate legal protection to similarly situated unmarried heterosexual couples. Last week the Constitutional Court was once again confronted by this failure, but only the minority decision addressed the problem head-on.

Before Parliament extended the right to marry to same-sex couples, the Constitutional Court in several judgments extended some of the rights enjoyed by married different-sex couples to unmarried same-sex partners in permanent same-sex relationships in which the partners have undertaken reciprocal duties of support. (more…)

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Quote of the week

Trolls are also distinguished from their predecessors by seeming not to recognise any limits. Ridicule is an anti-social force: it tends to make people clam up and stop talking. So there is a point at which, if conversation and community are to continue, the joke has to stop, and the victim be let in on the laughter. Trolls, though, form a community precisely around the extension of their transgressive sadism beyond the limits of their offline personas. That the community consists almost entirely of people with no identifying characteristics – ‘anons’ – is part of the point. It is as if the laughter of the individual troll were secondary; the primary goal is to sustain the pleasure of the anonymous collective.

Richard Seymour
London Review of Books
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