Namibia court grants citizenship to gay couple's son

·1-min read
Luehl with his twin daughters, who still have not been granted Namibian citizenship (AFP/LUCA SOLA)

A Namibian court Wednesday granted citizenship to a gay couple's two-year-old son, ending a legal battle over surrogacy and same-sex parents.

The interior ministry had denied citizenship to the boy because he was born through surrogacy in South Africa.

Yona's South African birth certificate listed Namibian Phillip Luehl and Mexican partner Guillermo Delgado as his parents -- which Namibian authorities refused to accept.

In a brief ruling, High Court Judge Thomas Masuku granted Namibian citizenship to Yona, overturning the decision of the interior ministry.

"This ruling is an acknowledgement that families are diverse," Luehl told reporters after the five-minute hearing. "We can celebrate this diversity of families and that the nation will give them the support and protection that is needed, per the constitution."

The couple is still in a legal battle over citizenship for their infant twin daughters, who were born in April, also through surrogacy in South Africa.

Their lawyer, Uno Katjipuka-Sibolile, said the twins should now also be granted citizenship.

"It is very important to win because it recognises citizenship by descent for children born via surrogacy to Namibian citizens," the lawyer said. "It is very important to children born by same-sex couples because this court recognised them both as parents."

The couple also has a pending case at the Supreme Court for Delgado, to establish his residency in the country based on his South African marriage to Luehl.

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

South Africa is the sole African nation which allows gay marriage, legalised in 2006.

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