Tujoromajo Kasuto

High Court Judge, Thomas Masuku, today granted citizenship to the son of Namibian, Phillip Lühl, and husband Guillermo Delgado, Yona, who was born via surrogacy in South Africa.

Such ruling may essentially be in favor of their twin daughters Paula and Maya, who are also seek Namibian citizenship. Judge Masuku also dismissed the counter application brought by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration, in which the ministry had claimed that a paternity test was needed to prove Lühl’ s biological linkage to his son.

The ministry has been ordered to pay the costs of the applicants and issue a certificate of citizenship in 30 days.

The couple today stated that this is a step in the right direction and this ruling makes them feel at home.

Delgado, who is waiting on the Supreme Court’s reserved judgment, which would grant him citizenship by- domicile through his marriage to a Namibian citizen, Lühl, says he is happy that his children have finally been granted citizenship and remained hopeful for a favourable judgment too from the court.

He had approached the Supreme Court to challenge the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration’s refusal to grant him domicile status. A full bench consisting of Chief Justice Peter Shivute, Deputy Judge President Petrus Damaseb, and Dave Smuts yesterday heard the oral arguments and closing remarks by the parties and have reserved judgment to a later undisclosed date.

Lühl had requested the High Court to declare that his son is a Namibian citizen by descent. However, the Home Affairs ministry was denying citizenship without proof of genetic linkage. Lühl had stated that, “the only reason why the Ministry of Home Affairs was refusing to accept the birth certificate, is the fact that it identifies male persons as the parent of the child.”

This comes after the same-sex couple was in an extended battle with the ministry for their twin daughters born this March through surrogacy in South Africa. In an application, Lühl, Namibian, and Delgado, Mexican, were seeking for an order urging Minister Frans Kapofi, to grant the children travel documents to travel to Namibia. The judge had argued that the court would be overreaching if it were to grant the order.

Judge Masuku this April dismissed the urgent application by same-sex couple, Lühl, and Delgado, to have their then new born twin daughters, who were then in South Africa, granted emergency travel documents.

Home Affairs minister then stated it was not backing down from legal challenges before courts after it issued travel documents to the twins on in May.

Home Affairs Executive Director, Etienne Maritz, had pointed point out that, “the issued travel certificates do not confer Namibian citizenship on the twins, and the issuance must not be construed to be a concession on the Minister’s part that the twins are Namibian citizens.”

The travel documents were issued after an application for emergency travel certificates were received at the Namibian High Commission in South Africa in April, after the High Court had refused Lühl and the twins emergency travel documents to travel to Namibia from South Africa.