Home Affairs finally responds to same-sex marriage ruling

Martin Endjala

The Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security says that it will implement the immigration act as per the Supreme Court Judgement on the treatment of same-sex marriages validly concluded between Namibians and foreign nationals outside Namibia.

The Ministry’s Executive Director, Etienne Maritz said, in a much anticipated statement that the government and the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security have taken note of the judgment and acknowledge the independence of the Courts and finality of Supreme Court decisions and in circumstances, the Ministry will comply with the judgment accordingly.

In a telephonic interview with this publication on the matter yesterday, Maritz said that given the fact that the matter is currently with the Attorney General and the Prosecutor General, he won’t be able to comment on the matter and that the Ministry is going to reserve its opinion of the matter for now.

However, Maritz stated that they are engaged in consultations with relevant key stakeholders regarding any other legal implications that may arise from the judgment, and the Ministry will address such implications once the consultations are completed.

The acknowledgement of the order follows the judgement which was delivered by the Supreme Court of Namibia on the 16th of May 2023, in which the court decided that foreign nationals who are married to Namibians in same-sex marriages validly concluded outside Namibia should be treated as spouses and the dependent children of the parties to such same-sex marriages are dependent children, in line with section 2(1)(c) of the immigration control act, 1993 (act no. 7 of 1993).

The ruling saw several outbursts from the public and prominent politicians condemning it, with many labelling it as a taboo and an abomination to the Christian and Traditional Culture of Namibians.

As a result, widespread demonstrations were seen taking place countrywide with some in support of the ruling particularly the LGBTQIA+ and others who were against it particularly the Coalition of Churches Association, which prompted them to submit a petition to the National Assembly to adopt new laws that will prohibit such rulings from being undertaken and to prohibit same-sex marriages.

Meanwhile, the Attorney General Festus Mbandeka announced last month that his office will be pronouncing itself on the matter, for which many Namibians are calling for a reversal of the Supreme Court ruling.

Several legal practitioners have come out against the Attorney General’s statement advising that according to the Constitution, the Supreme Court ruling is regarded as final and only the Supreme Court has the power to reverse its ruling.

Meanwhile, the ruling party Swapo has instructed the government to modify the definition of the term “spouse” in the Immigration Control Act, which would result in same-sex marriage partners not being regarded as each other’s spouse.

Related Posts