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The Supreme Court of Namibia has issued long awaited decision Recognition of same-sex marriages performed in foreign countries. The ruling is a victory for Namibians and their foreign husbands, who risked deportation and denial of benefits if their marriage was not recognized by the state.

The litigation was brought by two bilateral couples, one married in Germany and the other married in South Africa, who had settled in Namibia. Foreign husbands were denied residency permits immigration control act, who did not recognize them as “spouses”. This restrictive understanding would not have recognized their unions for immigration purposes and would have forced the couples to leave the country or live separately.

In 2022, the country’s High Court, one level below the Supreme Court, considered the claims and ruled that it was unable to grant immigration benefits under existing precedent, but expressed concern that the couples’ rights had been violated and Strongly condemn discrimination against gay couples.

The Supreme Court agreed that their rights had been violated, finding that the Immigration Control Act’s discriminatory provisions violated constitutional guarantees of dignity and equality. its decision adds a growing body of jurisprudence In area, recognizing human rights of all persons regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Earlier this month the Supreme Court of Nepal ordered the same Its government will recognize a foreign same-sex spouse for immigration purposes. european court of justice also found That the refusal to recognize foreign same-sex marriages jeopardizes the rights and freedom of movement of same-sex couples.

The ruling does not guarantee full equality in Namibia, where Same-sex activity is criminalized And same-sex couples cannot enter into civil partnerships or marriages under domestic law. Nevertheless, the judgment recognizes that couples marrying abroad have entered into a legal union, and that ignoring or invalidating that union puts their human rights at risk. This recognition is critically important for biracial couples and provides many practical options for living with their families and building a life in Namibia.

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