President Cyril Ramaphosa has approved two new pieces of legislation which bring changes to some South African marriages and civil unions.
The 2020 Civil Union Amendment Act, which was gazetted on Thursday (22 October) and comes into immediate effect.
Under the new laws, marriage officers may no longer object to solemnising a civil union between persons of the same sex.
The Act also requires the minister of Home Affairs to ensure that there is a marriage officer available to solemnise a civil union at every Department of Home Affairs office.
The laws follow a number of high-profile cases where a marriage officer refused to solemnise a same-sex couple as it was ‘contrary to their beliefs’.
The Judicial Matters Amendment Act, which was also gazetted on Thursday, will provide additional protections to South Africans who married out of community of property in the country’s former homelands.
This follows a 2018 Constitutional Court judgement which dealt with a couple who were married under the Transkei Marriage Act.