A gay couple who fought authorities for the right to have their marriage officially recognised have finally won their battle, sharing their legal wedding with the world.
Muhammad Buckus and Kyle Pillay exchanged vows in a traditional Hindu ceremony last year in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa before moving to Richards Bay.
“We knew we also wanted to get married legally,” said Buckus, according to Ground Up. “We didn’t for a moment think it would be a problem.”
They had planned to make their marriage legal following the move, but were turned away by Home Office officials despite same-sex weddings being legal in South Africa.
“We have been given excuse after excuse and it seems to us that the problem is that we are a same-sex couple,” Buckus said.
Since September 2019 the couple have visited the Home Office five times.
They were initially told that there was no marriage office, and then that there were no wedding dates available until the following year.
An official had told them that no one would perform the marriage “because they are Christians who have staunch beliefs but they will never tell you that to your faces”.
After journalists grilled officials, the couple were finally given an appointment to legalise their marriage for Thursday (October 8).
Buckus said that although the “VIP treatment” was appreciated, he and his now husband just “wanted to get married like any other person can”.
“We are relieved,” Buckus said. “The marriage officer was very kind to us. The only glitch was the issue of changing surnames. The system picked up that it was two men and wouldn’t allow it. So we just left our surnames as is.”