WINDHOEK, 25 March 2021 – Activists have taken to the streets in the Namibian capital, Windhoek, to decry a decision by the Ministry of Home Affairs to deny entry to twins born to gay parents in South Africa.
The protests come as a gay father of the twins awaits clearance in South Africa to return to Namibia with his twin daughters, born to a surrogate mother.
Phillip Lühl, a Namibian citizen and the gay parent of the twins stuck with them in South Africa, has filed an urgent application in the Windhoek High Court.
The petition prays the court to order Namibia’s Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration to issue the travel papers and end the current stateless status of the twin daughters.
“Bring Paula and Maya Home,” read one of the banners at the protest.
Another encouraged the government of Namibia to give up its efforts to determine who citizens love: “You can’t police love”.
Namibia does not recognize same-sex marriage and authorities in the southern African nation refused to issue emergency travel papers on those grounds and others.
Namibia’s Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration, Frans Kapofi, is cited in news reports as requesting of the two fathers of the babies to provide proof that they are, indeed, the biological parents of the twins.
South African birth certificates issued to the gay father recognize him and his Mexican-born husband, Guillermo Delgado, as the parents of the twins who were born last March 13.
Lühl’s spouse, Guillermo Delgado, marched with other Namibians calling on the Namibian authorities to allow Lühland the twins’ entry into Namibia and eventually grant them permanent residency.
Lühl has sharply criticized the Namibian government, describing as “callous” and “disrespectful” the decision to hold him and his daughters in South Africa.
The gay couple were married in South Africa seven years ago, according to media reports, recalling that the two are already raising another child in their Windhoek home who was also born through surrogacy.
Namibia does not allow same-sex marriage, meaning that the marriage between Lühl and Delgado is not recognized by Windhoek.
Namibian activists have decried the stance taken by the Namibian government on gay unions and gay parenthood as discriminatory.
Protesters said the Namibian government policy seriously undermines equality, especially for members of Namibia’s largely invisible LGBTQ community.