Second-class citizens’? Namibia rules against gay couples

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01/20/2022

WINDHOEK, Jan 20 (Reuters) – Namibia’s High Court ruled on Thursday against two gay couples fighting for recognition of their marriages, with the judge saying she agreed with them but was bound by the nation’s prohibition of same-sex relations. Like Namibia, many other African nations still ban same-sex liaisons, with couples risking jail and public scorn. Daniel Digashu and Johan Potgieter had married in South Africa, and Anette Seiler-Lilles and Anita Seiler-Lilles in Germany – but both couples now live in Namibia. Digashu, a South African, and German-born Anita Seiler-Lilles had applications for a work permit and residency denied respectively based of their same-sex marital status. In court, they argued that the word “spouse” in Namibian immigration law should include same-sex couples or the clause be declared unconstitutional. Judge Hannelie Prinsloo said she agreed but was bound by a more than 20-year-old Supreme Court ruling saying Namibia does not recognise same-sex relationships. “Only the Supreme Court can correct itself,” she said, adding it was high time the constitution reflected social reality.

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