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News24.Com Johannesburg - South Africa's highest court on Thursday ruled in favour of same-sex marriages, striking down a law that banned gay unions and ordering parliament to draft new legislation within a year.
"The common law definition of marriage is declared to be inconsistent with the constitution and invalid to the extent that it does not permit same-sex couples to enjoy the status and benefits it accords heterosexual couples," said Justice Albie Sachs in a ruling delivered by the constitutional court.
The decision followed a Supreme Court of Appeal ruling in November 2004 that said same-sex couples could get married following an application by lesbian couple Marie Fourie and Cecilia Bonthuys.
It requested that the courts change the common-law definition of marriage from being a "union between a man and a woman" to a "union between two persons".