South Africa’s deputy president has signed into law a landmark reform allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.The Civil Union Act takes effect today, 1 December, making South Africa the fifth country to allow same-sex marriage, BBC News reported.Last year South Africa’s highest court ordered the government to change the law because blocking same-sex couples from marriage was unconstitutional.Despite angering religious groups, the new law is a watershed for Africa, according to gay activists.It is an historic decision in terms of the African continent, a spokesperson for gay coalition the Joint Working Group said.But some activists have criticised a section in the legislation that allows officials to refuse to perform gay marriages if they are against their beliefs.

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