A Namibian court on Monday overturned a decision granting citizenship to the son of a gay couple, the latest step in a legal battle over the children of gay surrogate parents.
In Namibia, homosexuality is still illegal, although the 1927 sodomy law is rarely enforced today.
Yona, now four years old, was born to a surrogate mother in South Africa. Namibian Phillip Lühl and his Mexican partner Guillermo Delgado are both listed on the South African birth certificate as parents.
The Namibian authorities had refused to grant the boy citizenship and demanded a DNA test to prove that one of the child's parents is Namibian. The couple refused to undergo the test.
In late 2021, a local court overturned the Ministry of Home Affairs' decision, granting the boy Namibian citizenship based on the birth certificate. But the government appealed the decision, arguing that the birth had not been registered with the Namibian authorities within a year, as required by law.
The Supreme Court ruled on Monday, in a decision of which AFP obtained a copy, that the court had indeed "gone astray" in granting citizenship to the son of the homosexual couple.
"Since the birth was not registered in accordance with the Citizenship Act, the High Court was not competent to grant relief," the court said. "The minister was right not to grant the minor child citizenship by descent," it concluded.
Phillip Lühl and Guillermo Delgado said in a statement that they were "disappointed" by the reversal of the decision and recalled that the judiciary "is supposed to make decisions in the best interests of the child".
This decision is "regrettable", deplored Mr. Luehl to the AFP. And it only provokes "frustration among those who do not have full rights to equality".
South Africa has been the only African country to allow same-sex marriage since 2006.