Namibia: Supreme Court Gives Legal Status to Same-Sex Marriages

Same-sex marriages legally concluded outside Namibia must be recognised by the Namibian government, the Supreme Court has ruled in a historic judgement.

The home affairs ministry’s refusal to give official recognition to same-sex marriages concluded outside Namibia infringes on the constitutional rights to equality and dignity, four judges of the court stated in a judgement delivered today.

The court ruled that the marriages of two same-sex couples who got married in South Africa and Germany, respectively, must be recognised in Namibia, and that the non-Namibian partner in each marriage is recognised as the spouse of their Namibian partner under the country’s Immigration Control Act.

The court’s judgement gives non-Namibian spouses in same-sex marriages the same residence rights in Namibia that are accorded to spouses in opposite-sex marriages.

One of the five judges who heard the two appeals on which the court gave its decision dissented from the majority judgement, which was supported by four judges.

The majority judgement was written by chief justice Peter Shivute and appeal judge Dave Smuts.

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