by Pierre Le Roux
Same-sex marriage became legal in South Africa on 30 November 2006 when the Civil Unions Bill was enacted after having been passed by the SA Parliament earlier that month. South Africa became the 5th country, and the 1st in Africa, to legalize same-sex marriage. Now this was a historic occasion for me and my boyfriend of 8 years as we decided to tie-the-knot, and share in the marital bliss of our heterosexual counter parts. Being true homosexuals we decided to do everything in reverse, as we are just fagalicious in that way.
With all marriages you have to endure 5 events before you end up being husband & husband. There is the engagement party, the bachelor’s party, the wedding ceremony, the reception and the honeymoon and usually in that order. Well, at least that’s traditionally how straight people do it. Being gay and this “marriage thing” being very new to us we approached it unconventionally. Now, I don’t hate weddings I just have a strong aversion to the administrative, planning and production side to them. I also don’t see the purpose of some of the traditions and grand order of how a marriage should be consummated. So when we decided that we were going to get married there was only 1 demand from my side – No Wedding Ceremony & No Church! This came as a big disappointment to my husband who like all gay boys dreamed of his perfect fairy tale wedding. After some pouting and negotiation we came to a compromise. We were going to only have a reception for a few of our closest friends, and all the planning and wedding drama was squarely put on my husband’s competent shoulders, and I was happy to just pay my share of the bills.
We decided to skip the engagement party and go on our honeymoon first. We spend the most fantastic 10 days in Egypt. Had cocktails on the Nile, rode Arabian horses in the desert, sun bathed and snorkeled in the red sea. I am aware that the choice of country to celebrate our pending wedlock was a bit strange, it being a Muslim country where homosexuality is illegal and you can get a jail sentence if caught. I must admit we were a bit cautious about being affectionate with each other in public there, but it didn’t stop us from enjoying ourselves or the country. We ended our final evening in Egypt skinny dipping in the red sea, which I highly recommend! On the flight back I proposed to my husband that we become members of the mile high club, but the flight being Egypt Air he wisely declined my offer, so we are not members yet.
Returning from our honeymoon we broke the news of our pending marriage to friends and family. Some were overjoyed others confused. Questions arose about changing of our surnames: My husband and I share the same name and initials. If we were to have changed our surnames to a double barrel surname, sorting mail would have become a huge issue. So for this obvious reason and for professional purposes we kept our respective surnames. A few weeks after same sex marriage was officially legalized we went to a minister’s office with 2 witnesses. In a 30 minute unofficial ceremony we were married. It was simple, uncomplicated and emotional. Receiving that unpretentious piece of paper, legally recognizing our commitment to each other filled me with an indescribable sense of pride for my country and love for my husband. Finally our relationship of 8 years was official and legal!
A month later we had our reception. We booked out an entire section of our favorite restaurant. We had 20 fabulous guests (Actually 21 because 1 guest was pregnant at the time). It was a fun filled evening with laughter, champagne and off course amazing gifts. With our reception we successfully completed the marriage cycle, skipping a few events and doing things in reverse. Looking back on our unconventional wedding almost 3 years ago, I still get a smile on face and I am still in love with my old ball & chain. I am one lucky bastard!
Many people speculated that giving gay people the right to marry would ruin society, degrade the sanctity of marriage and make divorce lawyers millions. God forbid that gay people can actually get married, adopt children and stay married and be happy! The legalization of gay marriage in South Africa has not ruined society; yes there have been a few divorces in the mean time but as far as I know the divorce rate is still much higher amongst heterosexuals.
My wish for the rest of the world is to follow the example of South Africa and allow all GLBT people to get married.
After all why should only straight people have to suffer marriage?
Till next time!