South African court debates gay inheritance

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A gay man who was locked in an inheritance battle with the parents of his late boyfriend has asked South Africa’s Constitutional court to back a decision that he is the legal heir.

In March the Pretoria High Court decided that Mark Gory should have a legal right to Henry Brook’s estate under the Intestate Succession Act, although Mr Brook’s parents said it was unfair as the couple were not legally married.

Mr Gory had a gay marriage ceremony with his partner, but Mr Brook’s parents dismissed claims they were legally married and felt they should be entitled to their son’s estate. This prompted them to buy sell the house where the men lived.

Mr Gory’s attorney, Crystal Cambanis said: “It’s not a fight about money. It’s a fight about the principle that the gay community are the lawful heirs of the estate when a partner dies.”

She added, “Gay ‘marriages’ will only come into effect in South Africa in early December 2007, we want gay couples to have the same rights as heterosexual couples to inherent the estate where there isn’t a will written.”

The Pretoria judge ordered that the proceeds of the sale of the house be returned to Mr Gory.

And now Mr Gory wants the country’s Constitutional Court to back the decision.

The issue will be debated next month.