National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality and Another v Minister of Justice and Others
|National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality and Another v Minister of Justice and Others (1998)
Constitutional Court of South Africa, in which the court struck down as unconstitutional the laws forbidding consensual sexual activities between men, on the grounds that the Constitution of South Africa explicitly forbids discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality and Another v Minister of Justice and Others was a landmark decision of the |
The case was originally heard in the Witwatersrand High Court by Judge Jonathan Heher, who struck down the laws in question as unconstitutional. South African law requires that all orders of constitutional invalidity be referred to the Constitutional Court for confirmation, and argument was duly heard by the court on 27 August 1998.
The applicants in the case were the National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality, a voluntary association representing LGBT South Africans, assisted by the South African Human Rights Commission, an independent chapter nine institution responsible for promoting human rights. The respondents were the Ministers of Justice and of Safety and Security, who have political responsibility for criminal law enforcement, and the Attorney-General of the Witwatersrand, at the time the official in charge of prosecutions in the area under the jurisdiction of the Witwatersrand High Court, which includes the city of Johannesburg. They did not oppose the application, except for limited opposition to the remedy requested.
The decision of the court, handed down on 9 October 1998, was unanimous; the majority judgment, in which the other judges concurred, was authored by Judge Lourens Ackermann, while Judge Albie Sachs wrote a separate concurring judgment.
Constitutional Court of South Africa
Case CCT 11/98
|The National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality||First Applicant|
|The South African Human Rights Commission||Second Applicant|
|The Minister of Justice||First Respondent|
|The Minister of Safety and Security||Second Respondent|
|The Attorney-General of the Witwatersrand||Third Respondent|
|Heard on||:||27 August 1998|
|Decided on||:||9 October 1998|
|For the Applicants:||Mr GJ Marcus SC and Mr M Chaskalson instructed By Nichollas, Cambanis and Associates|
|For the 1st Respondents:||Ms GCM Masemola instructed by the State Attorney, Johannesburg.|
|For the Amicus Curiae:||Mr D Davis instructed by Wits Law Clinic.|
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