Namibia’s Supreme Court Upholds Same Sex Marriage Conducted Abroad

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The Supreme Court declared in a landmark decision that the Namibian government must recognize same-sex marriages that were lawfully conducted outside of Namibia.

According to a ruling handed down today by four justices of the court, the home affairs ministry’s reluctance to officially recognize same-sex unions formed outside of Namibia violates the constitutional rights to equality and dignity.

The court determined that the weddings of two same-sex couples, who were wed in South Africa and Germany, respectively, must be recognized in Namibia and that, under Namibia’s Immigration Control Act, the non-Namibian partner in each marriage is recognized as the spouse of their Namibian partner.

According to the court’s ruling, non-Namibian spouses in same-sex marriages now have the same residency rights in Namibia as spouses in opposite-sex marriages.

The majority judgment was backed by four of the five judges who heard the two appeals that were the subject of the court’s ruling.

Chief Justice Peter Shivute and appeals judge Dave Smuts wrote the majority decision.