A former South African judge and life-long human rights activist will weigh in on gay marriage today at UF Levin College of Law.

Albie Sachs, 78, who retired from his post as Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa in 2009, will speak at “Gay Marriage and the Promise of Equality,” a free event held in the Chesterfield Smith Ceremonial Classroom in Holland Hall, Room 180.

The event begins at noon.

Sachs will discuss his role in the legalization of same-sex marriage in South Africa and his beliefs on human rights, said Joseph Jackson, UF Law senior legal skills professor.

“He believes in a right to be different,” he said. “That society has an obligation to respect people for who they are.”

Sachs authored the court’s 2005 decision that struck down South Africa’s restriction of marriage between one man and one woman, which made the country the fifth to legalize same-sex marriage.

In 1988, a bomb planted on Sachs’ car by South African security agents took his right arm and vision in one of his eyes.

R. Hunt Davis, a professor emeritus in the UF Department of History with a speciality in South African history, said Sachs should not just be seen as a gay rights activist.

“He believes in the advancement of rights for all humans,” Davis said.

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