Namibia | Mixed court ruling for same-sex couple


Phillip Lühl and his husband Guillermo Delgado outside the Namibia Supreme Court (Pic: Power Pad Girls / Twitter)

The Supreme Court of Namibia has handed a partial victory to the Mexican husband of a Namibian man in his bid to be allowed to live in the country with his family.

On Monday the court ruled against the Ministry of Home Affairs and said that Guillermo Delgado’s application to stay in the country with his husband and children must be reviewed.

However, the court did not go as far as ordering officials to actually approve the new application, leaving the family in a state of uncertainty once again.

Home Affairs had previously rejected Delgado’s residency application because his same-sex marriage to Namibian Phillip Lühl – officiated in South Africa in 2014 – is not recognised under Namibian law. Delgado has been living in the country for ten years.

Speaking to journalists outside the court, the men’s lawyer, Uno Katjipuka-Sibolile, expressed her frustration at the ruling and described it as nonsensical.

“We’ve outlined to the court how Home Affairs has been hostile towards… the entire family, so [we’re] going back to Home Affairs for what? We know what they are going to do. They are going to reject the application, except now they’re going to pretend to have thought about it a little bit longer.

“Then you have to initiate another review application [and] eventually come back to the Supreme Court. It’s just a waste of time, a waste of money, a waste of energy. This is not what we wanted.”

On a more positive note, Katjipuka-Sibolile noted that the court “recognised that Home Affairs mistreated Guillermo and ordered a punitive cost order.”

Despite this recognition of wrong-doing, she said, “you’re sending the person back to Home Affairs. It makes no sense to me.”

The family have been engaged in a series of battles with Home Affairs to assert their rights as a legitimate family under the constitution.

In October last year, the Windhoek High Court ruled against Home Affairs in a separate case and found that the couple’s young son, Yona Delgado-Lühl, was entitled to Namibian citizenship by descent.

Sadly, the government has appealed the ruling, seemingly determined to split the family apart.

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