A person’s domicile is the country where they live or intend to live permanently.
Our robust Constitution has long since recognised same-sex marriages in South Africa. This encourages foreign same-sex couples to travel here to get married.
Where same-sex foreigners marry in South Africa, in terms of the Marriage Act or the Civil Union Act, the marriage is legally valid in almost every country. The law of the land where the husband lives bind the couple.
However, the mere conclusion of a civil union by foreigners in South Africa does not result in a valid marriage.
The foreign couple should register their marriage with the Department of Home Affairs and apply for an unabridged marriage certificate, which is stamped ‘Apostille’ by the High Court. The foreign couple uses this to register the marriage in the husband’s country of domicile. Only then will marriage be valid. Some countries – like the United Kingdom and Ireland – recognise South African marriages without an apostille.