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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

versión On-line ISSN 2224-7912
versión impresa ISSN 0041-4751


DU PLESSIS, Elmien. Religion, equality and the modest systemic role of property law in the Beloftebos case. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2021, vol.61, n.1, pp.177-192. ISSN 2224-7912.

Early in 2020, a wedding venue in the Cape Town area refused to allow two women to marry each other on their premises. This would infringe on their own religious beliefs, the owners maintained. Many argued in support of the business reserving the right of access to its premises. Thus, on the basis of certain entitlements arising from ownership, such as the power to exclude on the basis of religious beliefs, the owners argued that the exclusion was justifiable. Ownership ensures certain important entitlements for the owner, such as being able to exclude someone from your property. Some would argue that a contextual approach requires determining in specific circumstances whether - and to what extent - exclusion is justified. Others accept that the right to exclude people is absolutely and clearly enshrined in rules, and that it forms the basis of ownership. More progressive property theories offer normative arguments that support the restriction of property rights - such as, for example, that dignity is important, or that expulsion is in any case subject to so many other terms that a mere "keep out!" rule cannot simply be laid down. However, AJ van der Walt argues that property rights actually play a modest systemic role in law - as it should. In other words, in some cases, differences in property use should rather be resolved by protecting non-property rights, such as the right to life, human dignity, equality andfreedom of speech. In such instances, property rights play a modest or subordinate role. There are often important and systemic reasons why the abovementioned rights, which are not directly related to property, should be protected above property rights. Based on this theory, this article aims to investigate the role and place of property rules in cases where owners apply the rule of expulsion based on religious beliefs.

Palabras clave : same-sex marriages; equality; religion; modest systemic role in property law; Constitution; law of things; law of things theories.

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