Cabinet has been pressured to scrap the controversial and unpopular Clause 5 from the recently gazetted Marriages Bill saying the civil partnership concept was alien and not consistent with the country’s cultural and Christian values.
This emerged during the 27th Cabinet Decision matrix where Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa told members of the media that a presentation by Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi had necessitated Section 40 of the Marriage Bill be removed.
“Cabinet members sought clarification from the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs on the import of Section 40 of the Marriages Amendment Bill currently before Parliament,’ said Minister Mutsvangwa.
She added that, ” Following the explanation by the Minister, Cabinet observed that the concept of a “Civil Union” or “partnership” is foreign and not consistent with Zimbabwe’s cultural norms as well as its Christian values.
“Accordingly, Cabinet directed that Section 40, which bears reference to “Civil Partnerships” be removed forthwith from the proposed Marriage Bill,” she said.
The draft Marriages Bill introduces ‘civil partnerships’ and defines them as a relationship between a man and a woman who are both above the age of eighteen, are not related and have a relationship as a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis.
Section 40 of the draft bill had sparked debate from all walks of life with citizens and church leaders saying it was likely to influence unchaste behaviour, leading to a situation akin to biblical Sodom and Gomorrah.
Section 40 of Marriages Amendment Bill provided as follows: “A relationship between a man and a woman who — (a) are both over the age of eighteen years; and (b) have lived together without legally being married to each other; and (c) are not within the degrees of affinity or consanguinity as provided in Section 7; and (d) having regard to all the circumstances of their relationship, have a relationship as a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis; shall be regarded as being in a civil partnership for the purposes of determining the rights and obligations of the parties on dissolution of the relationship and, for this purpose, sections 7 to 11 of the Matrimonial Causes Act [Chapter 5:13] shall mutatis mutandis apply on the dissolution of any such relationship