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Namibian citizenship granted to child born via surrogacy to gay couple

25 October 2021
Appeared in BioNews 1118

The Namibian High Court has granted citizenship to the child of a same-sex couple born via surrogacy

The son of Namibian citizen Phillip Lühl and his Mexican husband Guillermo Delgado was born in South Africa in 2019. Namibia's legal system does not acknowledge same-sex marriage, so although Lühl is named on the South African birth certificate, Namibian authorities had previously insisted that a DNA test was required to prove a genetic link before citizenship would be granted. In October High Court Judge Thomas Masuku ruled that the child is a Namibian citizen by descent, rejected the need for a paternity test, and ordered the ministry of home affairs and immigration to issue national documents to the child within 30 days. 

'This is a big win for same-sex couples and especially a big win for Namibian children born outside Namibia by way of surrogacy' said the family's lawyer, Uno Katjipuka-Sibolile. 

Lühl and Delgado also have twin daughters, born earlier this year, for whom they are seeking Namibian citizenship. 

'It's quite sad that it takes so much emotional, financial disruption to our lives in order to get a simple bureaucratic decision taken that allows us to be together as a family,' said Lühl.

Sexual contact between men is illegal in Namibia, although the law is rarely enforced and may soon be overturned.

'The LGBTQI community are human beings and we must not allow them being excluded from the bouquet of rights enunciated in our constitution,' Justice Minister Yvonne Dausab told Reuters earlier this year. 

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