Watch: Namibian Court Rejects Same-Sex Couple's Plea to Bring Their Daughters Home

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday April 20, 2021

A Namibian court has turned away an appeal from a gay father who finds himself stranded in South Africa with five-week-old twin daughters.

The country says, until a genetic tie between the baby girls (born via surrogate) and the father is proven... it will not recognize them.

BBC reports Phillip Lühl, who is a citizen of Namibia, and his husband, Guillermo Delgado, a Mexican national, had appealed to the court after being denied documents that would have allowed the father's request. The Namibian government insists that genetic proof is required to accept the babies as Namibian citizens "by descent."

Unfortunately, Namibian high court's Judge Thomas Masuku turned the appeal aside in an April 19 ruling, saying to intercede for the men would constitute "judicial overreach," Reuters reports.

Lühl told Reuters: " '(It's an) unexpected judgment and, on a personal level, quite a big blow to us,' he said, adding it was evidence of resistance at all levels in Namibia on progress towards equal rights," the article said.

"While the South African surrogacy process requires a genetic link, the couple argue that requiring evidence of a genetic link to obtain citizenship has no basis in law and was discriminatory, because both fathers are legal parents," Reuters added, noting that both Lühl and Delgado are listed as parents on the girls' birth certificates.

"Monday's ruling means the family will remain separated, with Luhl in South Africa with the twins and Delgado in Namibia with the couple's son, while a judgment in their larger citizenship case is pending," the Reuters article went on to say.

"The urgent application first appeared before Masuku at the Windhoek High Court three weeks ago, Thursday, 25 March," just four days after the twins were born, reports newspaper South African.

Lühl's inability to bring the girls home to Delgado and the couple's two-year-old son are the latest in a series of legal challenges from the Namibian government. As previously reported at EDGE, permission for Delgado to live and work in Namibia has expired. The government claims that despite his employment as a university professor and his substantial savings and investments, Delgado has "insufficient means of sustenance" to be allowed to remain, reports say.

The men also face challenges over the citizenship of their son, according to reports.

The family's plight sparked protests in Namibia by LGTBQ equality advocates last month, and led to the creation of "The Namibian Equal Rights Movement (NERM)," which has "launched a petition to bring the twins home,' " The South African reported.

The group weighed in on this latest development, posting a video at Twitter in which Uno Katjipuka-Sibolile, a lawyer for the men, boiled the situation down, saying, "...essentially, the court clearly is satisfied with keeping the status quo, basically a family apart... and that situation cannot be said to be in the best interests of the children."

Watch the video in the Twitter post below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.