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The Ministry of home affairs has chosen to remain silent on a high court ruling in favour of granting Namibian citizenship to the children of a same-sex couple, Phillip and Guillermo Delgado-Lühl.

“The Ministry wishes to inform the public that reasons did not accompany the order. The Judge indicated that the reasons for the order should be delivered on 19 October 2021, and the same will be uploaded on e-Justice.

“The Ministry is not in a position to comment on the order or make a pronouncement on the next course of action.

“A careful study and appreciation will inform our next course of action of the reasons for the order, and such course of action will be taken within the parameters permitted by law,” it said via a statement.

The LGBTQI community has, in the meantime, hailed the landmark ruling in which the High Court has ordered home affairs to grant citizenship to the children.

Phillip and Guillermo Delgado-Lühl have been fighting for their children, Yona, Paula and Maya, to be granted Namibian citizenship.

Home affairs should now grant rights to Namibian citizenship within 30 days while a requirement for a paternity test has been disregarded.

The Namibia Equal Rights Movement, which has been leading protest action against home affairs’ stance, has celebrated the ruling, dubbing it “the Constitutional promise of equality our Republic was founded on”.

“It is disheartening that public policy, in the form of State-Sanctioned Homophobia, has been abused by the Ministry to infringe on the fundamental rights and liberties of Queer Namibians enshrined in our Constitution.

“Namibians are not immune to the horrors of discrimination; our past has been defined by a time when the State policed free love solely based on one’s race- today, the State continues to police free love exclusively based on one’s sexuality.

“But today, equality under the law prevailed. This is a significant day for our democracy. To be Born-Free is to be emancipated from the shackles of discrimination and oppression. There is no freedom in an independent Namibia if there is no equality, and the liberties fought for during the struggle extend to all Namibians- not only heterosexual persons,” said the movement.

This, however, does not make same-sex marriages constitutional in a country where religious and cultural conservatism has frustrated the rainbow community’s struggle for recognition.

In the meantime, the Ministry has refused to comment on the ruling.

Rights activist and labour research expert Hebert Jauch has said the ruling had questioned the country’s direction for same-sex couples.

He celebrated it as a landmark and vital to Namibia’s democracy.

‘We are talking about people here. We are talking about their rights as citizens, as human beings, and the court judgment in that context has to be understood to have said th3ese people are also entitled to protection by the law,” he said.

The Namibia Equal Rights Movement has said LGBTQ+ civil rights “is the civil rights issue of our generation and a human rights issue that disproportionately affects Namibia’s youth”.

“Children should never become collateral for any government’s State-Sanctioned Homophobic policies. We are proud of our Courts for upholding equality and children’s right not to be discriminated against based on their parents’ social status.

“The social status here being their fathers’ same-sex marriage. We trust MHAISS will honour the Court’s verdict in the right of children to acquire citizenship by descent and not misuse taxpayer funds to appeal the case and continue their crusade of State-Sanctioned Homophobia.

Julia Heita

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