Quote of the week

Excluding refugees from the right to work as private security providers simply because they are refugees will inevitably foster a climate of xenophobia which will be harmful to refugees and inconsistent with the overall vision of our Constitution. As a group that is by definition vulnerable, the impact of discrimination of this sort can be damaging in a significant way. In reaching this conclusion it is important to bear in mind that it is not only the social stigma which may result from such discrimination, but also the material impact that it may have on refugees.

Mokgoro J and O’Regan J (dissenting)
Union of Refugee Women and Others v Director, Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority and Others (CCT 39/06) [2006] ZACC 23
20 December 2006

Same-sex relationships around the world

I recieved an email from prof Kees Waaldijk who sums up the situation regarding the legal recognition of same-sex partnerships at national level as follows:

  • Marriage has been opened up to same-sex couples in Belgium, Canada, Netherlands, Spain (since December 2006), South Africa, and in one state of the United States of America.
  • A form of registered partnership for same-sex couples (and sometimes also for different-sex couples) carrying some, most or all legal consequences of marriage, has been introduced in Andorra, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greenland, Iceland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland (from January 2007), United Kingdom, Uruguay?, and in parts of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Spain, and the United States of America.
  • Informal cohabitation of same-sex partners has become legally recognised (at least for some legal purposes) in most of the jurisdictions mentioned above, and also in several other, including Austria, Brazil, Colombia, Croatia, Hungary, Israel, Portugal, and parts of Australia, Italy and the United States of America.
  • For various practical purposes a foreign same-sex marriage would be recognised in Israel, and (probably) also in many of the countries that have introduced some form of registered partnership, but that have not opened up marriage. However (unlike Israel, after the judgement of its Supreme Court on 21 November 2006) most of these countries would not formally register a foreign same-sex marriage as ‘marriage’.
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