S Africa approves same-sex unions


South Africa’s parliament has voted to legalise same-sex weddings – the first African country to approve such unions.

The controversial Civil Union bill was passed by 230 votes to 41.

The legislation was introduced after the Constitutional Court ruled last year that the existing laws discriminated against homosexuals.

The ruling African National Congress ordered all MPs to turn up and vote for the bill, despite the opposition of church and traditional leaders.

The bill provides for the “voluntary union of two persons, which is solemnised and registered by either a marriage or civil union”.

The existing Marriage Act defines a marriage as a “union between a man and a woman”.