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S. Africa, Mexico City pave way for gay unions

The controversial law is expected to pass next week in South Africa.

Published November 10, 2006


CAPE TOWN, South Africa - A parliamentary committee approved proposals for same-sex marriages in South Africa on Thursday, clearing the way for the passage of legislation that would be unique on a deeply conservative continent.

The compromise, reached after heated public debate, upset religious groups, traditionalists and even some members of the governing African National Congress while gay rights activists said it didn't go far enough.

"It's been a very difficult time. It was a major challenge," said Patrick Chauke, chairman of the Home Affairs Portfolio Committee, which spent weeks touring the country to gauge public opinion and received nearly 6,000 comments.

The civil unions bill will go to a full session of Parliament on Tuesday. Despite unease in the ANC, it is expected to pass.

In Africa, homosexuality is still largely taboo and illegal in many countries.

[Last modified November 10, 2006, 01:43:41]

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