Removal of sexual orientation protection clauses from the Constitution?
An article in Beeld
explains that there is a move in government encouraging the removal of sexual orientation protection clauses from the South African Constitution. Not to say "I told you so", but I’ve been warning about this eventuality for the past five years.
The fact that there is a government body with power over the Constitution giving serious consideration to unconstitutional suggestions which would not only violate the human rights of a significant portion of South African citizens but would also stand in contradiction to several important UN mandates on human rights is cause for significant concern indeed. It would set in motion a cascade effect that would collapse the culture of human rights protections for numerous communities.
Read this article in Beeld. (Click the translate button to get the gist of the article in English.)
"Eweneens het die Nasionale Huis van Tradisionele Leiers se voorstel oor hoofstuk 2 van die Grondwet groot implikasies vir veral die regte van gay mense, insluitend diegene wat kinders aangeneem het en wat in burgerlike vennootskappe staan. (The National House of Traditional Leaders’ suggestion about Chapter 2 of the Constitution has great implications especially for the rights of gay people, including those who have adopted children and who are in civil unions.)
“Die voorstel behels dat seksuele oriëntasie as afdeling van die Handves van Menseregte geskrap word." (The suggestion entails that sexual orientation, as a section, be scrapped from the Bill of Rights.)
The Traditional Leaders Bill which recently made the news aims to invalidate the sexual orientation protections in the Constitution in areas under their control, in order to allow traditional leaders to discriminate against their community members on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender.
This is an attempt to strip our community of equal protections under the law and to facilitate persecution and discriminatory behaviour under the thin excuse of "traditional values" - some of which are in plain violation of the values of a human rights-oriented society and Constitution.
This development indicates that they intend to extend this war on gay/gender rights across the board. The fact that the evaluation body has not rejected this unconstitutional move out of hand as it did before with previous suggestions is of grave concern to our community and to human rights advocates.
Imagine that a group of right-wing Afrikaners suggested the invalidation of clauses in the Constitution protecting against discrimination on the basis of race, and only in certain areas under their influence? I am sure that such a move would result in howls of protest and would be dismissed without any hesitation. The same principle applies here - and perhaps you can understand, then, why I find this to be so offensive.
Either people are equal under the law or they aren’t. You can’t invalidate the protections of the Constitution over an endangered minority in certain areas just to advance the interests of a cultural tradition which has no respect for the human rights of that minority.
To do so would create a dangerous precedent – and one which other religious extremist or radical groups would seek to exploit, or to copy.
See Christina Engela’s blogspot for more on equal rights for the pink community.