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Public hearings on the Civil Union Bill began on 20 September.On 7 October, the Marriage Alliance organised a march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to hand to government representatives a memorandum opposing same-sex marriage.Fourie and Bonthuys therefore appealed the High Court judgment to the SCA, which handed down its decision on 30 November 2004.The five-judge court ruled unanimously that the common-law definition of marriage was invalid because it unconstitutionally discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation, and that it should be extended to read "Marriage is the union of two persons to the exclusion of all others for life." The court further unanimously noted that because Fourie and Bonthuys had not challenged the Marriage Act, the court could not invalidate it, and, therefore, their marriage could not immediately be solemnized.Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, acting for President Thabo Mbeki, signed it into law on 29 November, and it became law the following day, one day before the Constitutional Court's order would otherwise have come into force.Minister of Home Affairs Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said the law was only a temporary measure, noting that a fuller marriage law would be formulated to harmonise the several pieces of marriage legislation now in force.The court divided, however, on whether the couple should be given an immediate remedy in implementing the new, wider common-law definition of marriage.The majority opinion, written by Judge Edwin Cameron, ruled that the new definition should apply immediately.

It signifies that their capacity for love, commitment and accepting responsibility is by definition less worthy of regard than that of heterosexual couples." There was some disagreement about the remedy: the majority (eight of the justices) ruled that the declaration of invalidity should be suspended for a year to allow Parliament to correct the situation, as there were different ways in which this could be done, and the Law Reform Commission had already investigated several proposals.

It also included provisions to recognise domestic partnerships between unmarried partners, both same-sex and opposite-sex.

The state law advisers, who screen laws for constitutionality and form, declined to certify the bill, suggesting that it failed to follow the guidelines laid down by the Constitutional Court.

On 24 August 2006, the Cabinet approved the Civil Union Bill for submission to Parliament.

The bill as initially introduced would only have allowed civil partnerships which would be open only to same-sex couples and have the same legal consequences as marriage.

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