The recent legalization of same-sex "marriage" in South Africa has stirred emotions with many African Christians protesting the new controversial law that is the first of its kind on the continent.
"We are obviously very disappointed," Kenneth Meshoe, leader of the African Christian Democratic Party, told Agence France-Presse after the bill was signed into law. "What has happened has proved that the wishes of the majority of South Africans are not taken seriously by the majority party."
Last Thursday, South Africa became the first country in Africa, and only the fifth in the world, to legalize same sex "marriage." The new legislation has sparked heated debate with the Roman Catholic Church among others criticizing it as violating the sanctity of marriage. According to The Associated Press, radio talk shows strongly opposed the bill in the days prior to the signing of the legislation.
"The Civil Union Bill justifies immorality and by inference calls sexual perversion a legitimate alternative lifestyle that should be openly accepted," the South African Christian Action Network said in a statement. "It calls immorality and perversion true virtue and commendable freedom.”
"To force the morality of the radical homosexual minority on the people of South Africa through law is, in effect, to lead the masses astray," concluded the group.
Last year, South Africa’s highest court interpreted the constitution – which is said to be one of the most liberal in the world - to require gay "marriage" to be legalized, giving the African National Congress one year to execute its conclusion.
However, homosexuality is not condoned by most other African nations. Homosexuality is illegal in Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ghana and most other sub-Saharan countries.
In September, thousands of Christians held demonstrations in South African cities, urging the government to not pass the bill. Demonstrators marched under the banner of the Marriage Alliance, composed of about 100 churches and denominations and representing over 20 million Christians in South Africa. The group supported the Biblical definition of marriage as “being between one man and one woman, for life.”
Homosexuality "is against God’s order for mankind, against God’s plan for marriage and families," said Meshoe, according to AFP.
"God intended Adam to be married to Eve and not to Steve."
Same-sex "marriage" is legal in Denmark, Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain. In the United States, only the state of Massachusetts allows gay "marriage" and Vermont and Connecticut permit civil unions. California provides similar status through a domestic-partner registration law.