Gay couple hail 'big win' in battle over children's Namibian citizenship

by Reuters
Wednesday, 13 October 2021 13:24 GMT

Namibian citizen Phillip Luhl holds one of his twin daughters as he speaks to his Mexican husband Guillermo Delgado via Zoom meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, April 13, 2021. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo

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A Namibian court ruled that the son of a gay couple, born via surrogacy in South Africa in 2019, is a Namibian citizen by descent

WINDHOEK, Oct 13 (Reuters) - A Namibian court ruled on Wednesday that the son of a gay couple, born via surrogacy in South Africa in 2019, is a Namibian citizen by descent, in a decision hailed as "big win" for same-sex couples.

In a test case for Namibia, High Court Judge Thomas Masuku ruled that a paternity test is not needed to prove that Yona Luhl-Delgado is the son of Namibian Phillip Luhl and his Mexican husband, Guillermo Delgado.

"This is a big win for same sex couples and especially a big win for Namibian children born outside Namibia by way of surrogacy," the couple's lawyer, Uno Katjipuka-Sibolile, told reporters following the judgement.

Yona and his twin sisters, who are also battling to obtain Namibian citizenship in a separate case, were all born via surrogacy in South Africa.

Judge Masuku ordered the ministry of home affairs and immigration to pay the couple's costs and issue national documents to Yona within 30 days.

In a major climbdown in May, the Namibian government issued emergency travel documents to the twin daughters Maya and Paula, who were born in March. The papers allowed them to enter Namibia, but not leave.

Namibia's legal system does not recognise same-sex marriages and criminalises sexual contact between men, though the law is seldom enforced.

Luhl told reporters outside the court that the couple was happy with the ruling.

"This is a step in the right direction," he said.

(Reporting by Nyasha Francis Nyaungwa; Editing by Giles Elgood)