Activists have hit the streets of Namibia ahead of a court ruling on whether a gay man can come back home from South Africa with his twin daughters, BBC reports. Namibian citizen Phillip Lühl is currently stuck in South Africa with his twin daughters who were born to a surrogate on March 13. Lühl’s partner, who is Mexican, is in Windhoek, Namibia, waiting for his return and that of their twins.
Lühl said Namibia’s Ministry of Home Affairs has however refused to issue emergency travel authorization papers for them, leaving the twins stateless. He has since filed an urgent application in the Windhoek High Court, asking the court to order Namibia’s Ministry of Home Affairs “to issue emergency travel certificates to his daughters or to allow him to enter Namibia with the two babies,” a report said.
A child born to a surrogate mother, under South Africa’s laws, takes the citizenship of its parents. Thus, Lühl and his Mexican-born husband, Guillermo Delgado, are registered as the parents of the twins on their South African birth certificates. However, Namibia’s Home Affairs Ministry is not willing to recognize Lühl and Delgado’s marriage and also refusing to issue the travel documents which Lühl needs to return to his home in Windhoek, a move he describes as “callous” and “disrespectful”.
Lühl, in a sworn affidavit, said the home affairs ministry asked him to provide genetic proof that he is the biological father of the children. He believes this stance was taken because of his same-sex marriage.
Same-sex relationships are illegal in Namibia, however, those involved are not prosecuted, according to BBC.
Although some African countries are slowly accepting same-sex marriages, many are still very categorical in their denunciation of the idea. Some have even made it a capital offense punishable by death – Mauritania, Sudan, southern Somalia and northern Nigeria.
Many members of the LGBT community in these countries have been forced to hide their sexuality while others have fled their homes for fear of being attacked.