2020 laws enacted to promote gender equality and protect the rights of the LGBTQI+ community

​​​​​2020 saw two positive legislative movements likely to ensure significant progressive steps towards fighting discrimination, facilitating gender equality and to ensuring that the rights of LGBTQI+ community in South Africa are upheld. We highlight these developments below.

On 1 January 2020, the Labour Laws Amendment Act 10 of 2018 came into force, which resulted in new leave entitlements becoming available to employees (parental leave, adoption leave and commissioning parental leave). These new leave entitlements represented a much-needed step towards the achievement of gender equality in the workplace and equal treatment for working parents from the LGBTQI+ community. In a previous article on this topic, we unpacked these leave entitlements.

And more recently, On 22 October 2020, the Civil Union Amendment Act 8 of 2020 came into force. Under this new Act -

Marriage officers (employed by the state) are no longer permitted to object to solemnising civil unions between same-sex couples  The Minister of Home Affairs must ensure that there is a marriage officer available to solemnise a civil union at each office of the Depart


Previously, marriage officers could refuse to solemnise civil unions based on conscientious objection. There were many reported instances of marriage officers refusing to solemnise the civil unions of same-sex couples.

Both legislative changes make important contributions towards ensuring that all people within South Africa will actualise the rights set out in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.

Watch this space for updates particularly related to developments related to employees who form part of the LGBTQI+ community in South Africa.