CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) -- The South African parliament passed legislation recognizing same-sex marriages Tuesday in an unprecedented move on a continent where homosexuality is taboo.
African National Congress veterans heralded the Civil Union bill for extending basic freedoms to everyone and equated it with liberation from the shackles of apartheid.
The bill's supporters had to overcome criticism from both traditionalists and gay activists and warnings that the legislation may be unconstitutional.
"When we attained our democracy, we sought to distinguish ourselves from an unjust painful past, by declaring that never again shall it be that any South African will be discriminated against on the basis of color, creed culture and sex," Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula told the National Assembly.
But a Christian lawmaker, Kenneth Meshoe, said it was the "saddest day in our 12 years of democracy" and warned that South Africa "was provoking God's anger."
One church leader in Nigeria denounced the move as "satanic," reflecting the views on a deeply conservative continent where some countries are debating constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriages.
But gay rights groups in Europe hailed South Africa as a shining example of progressiveness...