South Africa: Why Beloftebos Doesn't Have a Legal Leg to Stand On

opinion

Last week, two women who were turned away when they tried to book Beloftebos Wedding Venue near Stanford in the Western Cape for their wedding reception, announced they are taking the owners to the Equality Court. The owners claim they have a right to discriminate against same-sex couples because their religious beliefs require them to do so. They are mistaken. This is why.

Christian privilege is deeply rooted in South African culture. Because Christianity is the dominant religion in the country, Christian belief is sometimes treated as a social norm, and this produces unconscious or conscious attitudes and beliefs that advantage Christians over non-Christians.

Christian privilege manifests itself when Christians demand to define for themselves which laws they will obey and which not, and when they insist that they enjoy a special right (not afforded to non-Christians) to discriminate against LGBTQ people because they claim their religion does not recognise the equal dignity of LGBTQ people and thus requires them to discriminate against us.

In Christian Education South Africa v Minister of Education, the Constitutional Court rejected this view and thus rejected Christian privilege. In that case, a group of Christian schools claimed that legislation prohibiting corporal punishment in schools...

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