Tis true! The country once banned from the Olympics because of apartheid has now legalized gay marriage.

South Africa yesterday became the first country in Africa, and only the fifth in the world, to legalize same-sex marriages.

They’ve joined Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Spain. But it hasn’t been easy.

The Roman Catholic Church and Muslim groups denounced it as violating the sanctity of marriage. In the days leading up to the signing of the law, radio talk shows aired opposition to it.

The public reaction, [Melanie] Judge said, “forced us to confront the deep-seated prejudice and intolerance against gays and lesbians. It?s a day-to-day reality. … It?s been quite a frightening process to see the level of hatred that has been openly expressed against this minority.”

Keep fighting the good fight for equality for all. Despite being a conservative society, their constitution – drafted in 1994 after the end of apartheid – explicitly bans any kind of discrimination, including that based on sexual orientation.

I’ve only got one problem with the law – it allows civil-marriage officers to turn away couples if their conscience prevents them from performing the marriage. I’ve got no problem with that “out” for clergy – freedom of religion means that if a religious group wishes to withhold it’s sacraments for it’s own reasons, it should be free to do so – but civil-marriage is purely a state function. Allowing individuals doing the work of the state to override law at their own whim is a barrier to the freedom of the people.