Namibian Court Cancels Nationality of Child of Same-Sex Couple

 

A Namibian court rejected a ruling awarding citizenship to the son of a gay couple on Monday, the latest development in a legal struggle over the children of gay surrogate parents.

Homosexuality is still prohibited in Namibia, albeit the 1927 sodomy statute is rarely implemented nowadays.

Yona, now four years old, was born in South Africa to a surrogate mother. Both Namibian Phillip Lühl and his Mexican boyfriend Guillermo Delgado are named as parents on the South African birth certificate.

Namibian officials declined to award the boy citizenship and wanted a DNA test to establish that one of the child’s parents is Namibian. The pair declined to take the exam.

A local court overruled the Ministry of Home Affairs’ ruling in late 2021, granted the youngster Namibian citizenship based on his birth certificate. However, the government filed an appeal, claiming that the birth had not been registered with Namibian authorities within a year, as required by law.

The Supreme Court concluded on Monday, in a ruling acquired by AFP, that the court had indeed “erred” in awarding citizenship to the homosexual couple’s son.

“Since the birth was not registered in accordance with the Citizenship Act, the High Court was not competent to grant relief,” the court said. “The minister was right not to grant the minor child citizenship by descent,” it concluded.

Phillip Lühl and Guillermo Delgado said in a statement that they were “disappointed” by the reversal of the decision and recalled that the judiciary “is supposed to make decisions in the best interests of the child”.

This decision is “regrettable”, deplored Mr. Luehl to the AFP. And it only provokes “frustration among those who do not have full rights to equality”.

South Africa has been the only African country to allow same-sex marriage since 2006.

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