A court in the Southern African country of Namibia ruled on Wednesday that the son of a gay couple is a Namibian citizen by descent.
The ruling has been considered a major victory for same-sex couples in the country. The couple, Namibian citizen Philip Luhl and his Mexican husband, Guillermo Delgado, had their son via a surrogate in South Africa in 2019, according to Reuters.
The men also have twin daughters born later who are also needing Namibian citizenship. In May they were issued travel documents to enter the country, but not to leave it.
In his ruling, High Court Judge Thomas Masuku said that there didn’t need a paternity test to prove that the couple’s son was indeed their son.
“This is a big win for same-sex couples and especially a big win for Namibian children born outside Namibia by way of surrogacy,” the couple's lawyer, Uno Katjipuka-Sibolile, said after the court’s decision was announced.
Masuku ordered that the couple’s son be granted his national documents within 30 days, the news wire reported. The ministry of home affairs and immigration also had to pay for the couple’s legal costs.
Luhl said he and his husband were happy with the ruling. He said, “This is a step in the right direction.”
The country does not recognize same-sex marriage. In fact, sexual relations between men are illegal, though the law is rarely enforced, Reuters reported.
Earlier this year, Namibia’s justice minister called for the law to 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 the Thomson Reuters Foundation in May.
“This sodomy law is outdated and discriminatory. ... All Namibians should enjoy life, dignity, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
“The fact that the law even exists leaves gay men feeling stigmatized, ostracized, and marginalized,” Omar van Reenen, cofounder of LGBTQ+ organization the Namibia Equal Rights Movement, told the outlet.
“These laws were written by colonialists and imposed on the Namibian people ... the whole narrative of homosexuality being a Western import is false, homophobia is the Western import.”