A POTENTIALLY explosive debate awaits Parliament after Cabinet approved the amendment of the Marriages Act to effectively make it illegal for same sex marriages to be solemnised and recognised in the country.
During a post-Cabinet briefing yesterday, Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Priscah Mupfumira said the executive had approved the amendment Bill, which among other things seeks to repeal and replace the Customary Marriages Act and merge it with the Marriage Act (Chapter 5:11) into one Act.
The highlight of the amendment is the prohibition of same sex marriages at a time the gays and lesbians community was looking at government to ensure that they enjoy more rights including legally marrying.
“The objectives of the Bill are … prohibition of same sex marriages and recognition of the supremacy of the Constitution which invalidates, any law practice and custom and conduct inconsistent with the Constitution,” Mupfumira said.
Zimbabwe, largely a Christian nation, has been against same sex unions, with former President Robert Mugabe gaining political mileage in his Zanu PF party by declaring an open war against the gay community.
He even called them “worse than pigs and dogs”, but the coming in of President Emmerson Mnangagwa had given the gays and lesbians hope that they could be accommodated.
Mupfumira also said government had set aside ZWL$1 million to assist small-to-medium enterprises recover from losses induced by Cyclone Idai.
“An amount of ZWL$ 1 million has been put in place to assist the recovery of SME business affected by Cyclone Idai,” she said.