May 26, 2022

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Namibia must review gay partner's residency: court

Namibia must review gay partner’s residency: court

Namibian immigration officials must reconsider their decision to deny residency to the Mexican partner of a gay Namibian man, the Supreme Court ruled Monday.

Same-sex marriages are not recognised in Namibia, but the courts have gradually extended some protections to gay couples married in other countries.

Guillermo Delgado had applied for residency in Namibia, where he has lived for more than a decade.

He married Namibian national Phillip Luehl eight years ago in South Africa.

But immigration officials ruled that their South African marriage did not qualify Delgado for residency in Namibia.

Delgado took his fight to the Supreme Court, which ordered immigration officials to reconsider the application.

But the court stopped short of requiring that immigration officials grant Delgado residency.

“The appeal succeeds in part,” the judgement said.

“The matter must be referred back to them to consider the application afresh.”

Speaking outside the court, Delgado’s lawyer Uno Katjipuka-Sibolile said the couple believed immigration will simply reject the application again.

“We know what they are going to do: They are going to reject the application –- except they are going to pretend that they thought about it a bit longer,” she said.

Namibia has seen a flurry of court challenges around same-sex couples marrying, parenting, and migrating.

Homosexuality is illegal in Namibia under a rarely-enforced 1927 sodomy law dating to its period of South African rule.

In October the Namibian High Court granted citizenship to Delgado and Luehl’s two-year-old son, ending a legal battle over surrogacy and same-sex parents.

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