Top French court approves Franco-Moroccan same-sex marriage and Jesuit Institute says South Africa must end shameful Xenophobia

By Junior Mayema,

This is a victory against xenophobia in France and worldwide that targets LGBT immigrants, LGBT refugees and asylum seekers the decision could create a precedent and allow gay citizens from the 11 countries concerned to tie the knot in France, i remember one friend of mine who had to fly with his partner to South Africa from France in order to get married because they couldn’t  tie the knot in France because of some discriminatory laws in place;  Even though right now South Africa is cracking down LGBT immigrants, Refugees and Asylum seekers, there is still light at the end of the tunnel, this is what a friends of mine Activist Steve Letsike told me  : ”  I am starting a safe space for LGBTI foreign nations (with asylum, workpermit, student permit) it does not matter their legal status. We want to give them space for engagement and source support links. Your experience has touched me. And I know I have not been doing enough to support your stay. However I do have others now who needs my support and would like to help where I can, we will meet in my office in Pretoria starting from the 21 February. I need you to tell me if you know of LGBTI friends who live in Gauteng (Pretoria/Johannesburg) who would like to be part of the group. I will send you a flyer. Thanks. Steve” so please friends consider getting in touch with Steve, he is on facebook as well Steve Letsike  here is facebook name, this is a picture of a friend from Gabon who flew with his french  partner to South Africa because they couldn’t make it happen in France :

married in South Africa

We  are achieving a lot within the LGBT community but lets  always not forget the most vulnerable in our community, there are good news everyday, here are some of them :

Chilean Lawmakers Approve Same-Sex Civil Unions

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/chilean-lawmakers-approve-sex-civil-unions-28562816

Rome recognizes gay civil unions

http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/rome-recognizes-gay-civil-unions290115

And we are still waiting for the Supreme Court’s Ruling here in the United States  and here is the good news from France :

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/africa/2015/01/28/Top-French-court-approves-Franco-Moroccan-same-sex-marriage.html

France’s highest appeals court on Wednesday gave the go-ahead for a French-Moroccan gay couple to marry, going against a ruling that homosexuals from Morocco and 10 other nations cannot tie the knot in the country.

France legalized same-sex marriage in 2013 after months of intense and sometimes violent protests, and the couple – Dominique and Mohammed – immediately got to work planning their official union.

But just two days before the wedding, prosecutors in the southeastern city of Chambery ruled it could not go ahead.

They cited a government circular stating that nationals from countries as diverse as Morocco, Poland and Laos were not allowed to marry people of the same sex in France.

They are among 11 nations that ban gay marriage and had signed agreements with France under which a citizen in a binational couple must obey his or her own nation’s marriage law.

Since their failed attempt to tie the knot, two separate courts had ruled that Dominique and Mohammed – who have asked for their last names not to be published – could marry.

So prosecutors took the case to the Cour de Cassation, France’s highest appeals court.

On Wednesday, the court said that a clause in the agreement signed between France and Morocco on the issue stipulated that the law of one of the countries could be discarded when it was “obviously incompatible with public order.”

Public order is a set of rules that help organize a nation, its economy, health system, security, and also includes the rights and freedoms deemed necessary for each citizen.

The court ruled that freedom to marry was a fundamental right in France, and going against it would therefore be incompatible with public order.

The decision could create a precedent and allow gay citizens from the 11 countries concerned to tie the knot in France.

Socialist President Francois Hollande, who had pledged to legalize gay marriage after taking office, faced a huge backlash from the opposition right and the powerful Catholic Church.

The first gay wedding in France was held in May 2013 in the southern city of Montpellier, which has a gay-friendly reputation.

And xenophobia must end everywhere  it is human rights violation South Africa must be held accountable for it is shameful and endemic attacks on foreign nationals especially from other African countriesSouth Africa must abide by the principle of the universality human rights  here is the entire story below story below :

http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2015/01/28/south_africa_must_end_shameful_xenophobia_says_the_jesuits_/1120431

The Jesuit Institute South Africa has strongly condemned the ongoing violence which started in Soweto against foreign persons and their businesses. The Institute says the violence “constitutes another episode in South Africa’s shameful history of xenophobia. The savagery demonstrated and the failure to put a stop to the current (and earlier) incidents of xenophobic violence is deeply disturbing and displays a failure of the State to put an end to such behaviour both by the enforcement of the law and the education of citizens in respect of the rights of foreign nationals. This is a national disgrace,” says aJesuit Institute South Africa statement made available to Vatican Radio’s English Service for Africa.

The Jesuits in South Africa are also disturbed by the debate of whether or not the attacks constitute xenophobia. They have asserted in their statement that a systematic series of attacks on over eighty foreign-owned shops and foreign-born persons cannot simply be explained away as criminal or political acts of violence. They are Xenophobic acts, insists the statement.

The statement adds that, “Xenophobia in South Africa is in direct contradiction of our nation’s professed belief in humanity or Ubuntu and is a flagrant act of contempt for the culture of human rights central to our Constitution,” the statement says. It continues, “The shelter of protection given by our Constitution extends to all of us because we are human beings, giving recognition to our inherent dignity and equality before God.  This is in accord with Catholic Social Teaching on the dignity of the human person and with the central tenet of Ubuntu – ‘Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu’, a person is a person through other people.”

The Jesuit Institute South Africa has reminded South Africans that, “During the apartheid era, the countries of Africa (and many other parts of the world) demonstrated this hospitality admirably to thousands of South African exiles, giving them a place of refuge – often putting themselves at risk of attack by the South African war machine. Our people were treated with warmth and generosity. They were not robbed, murdered, or attacked,” read the statement.

The Jesuits further say that  the violence is symptomatic of the deep structural problems in South Africa and foreign nationals have become “scapegoats.” There are many unresolved issues and a loss of hope in some of South Africa’s townships where people attack foreigners because they are vulnerable.

The Government has been reminded that a, “State fails when it does not adequately protect all those living within its borders, when it does not enforce the law or educate citizenry in the proper way to deal with non-citizens.”

The Jesuit Institute South Africa, with its partner organisation Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) has called for among other things the respect of the rule of law; dialogue between Church leaders, community leaders, local businesses and foreigners and for Government to embark upon a systematic civic education on the positive contribution migrants make to South Africa – socially and economically.

This week Southern Africa’s Bishops who are meeting for their first plenary (of the year) in Pretoria condemned the Xenophobic violence. In a statement, the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference (SACBC) called on the “people involved not to allow themselves to be incited to such destruction.”

Source: Jesuit Institute South Africa

(e-mail: engafrica@vatiradio.va)

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