Same-sex couples who were fighting to have their marriages to foreign nationals, concluded outside of Namibia, recognised by Government, said yesterday’s defeat in the High Court is not a total loss.
“The general feeling at this point in time, especially with the reasoning of the judgement, is that we would probably appeal. The court basically advised us to appeal… All in all, it does not feel like a loss. We are moderately satisfied,” said Carli Schickerling, one of the lawyers representing the couples.
In a case that was heard by a full bench of judges, High Court Judge Hannelie Prinsloo dismissed the application of two same-sex couples, being Namibian national Anette Seiler-Lilles and her German spouse Anita Seiler-Lilles; alongside Johan Potgieter and his South African spouse Tjoelantele Digashu, who sought orders to have their marriages, which were solemnised in foreign jurisdictions, to be recognised in Namibia, and whether the couples could be considered as “spouses” as stipulated by the Immigration Control Act.
She further did not grant the order to have the couples recognised as a family unit, particularly for Digashu and Potgieter, who have a minor child.
Despite the dismissal, the court noted that it had to follow the doctrine of precedence set by the Supreme Court, although they do not agree with the sentiments of the said court’s stance that same-sex relationships are not recognised under Namibian law.
Prinsloo noted that the couples can not obtain the orders they sought as only the Supreme Court can rescind its own judgement.
She added that it is time for the Constitution to evolve with the times and reflect that same-sex couples are part and parcel of the Namibian community, and should be treated as such.
“We believe it is time too for the Namibian Constitution to reflect that homosexuality is part and parcel of the fabric of our society, and that persons in homosexual relationships are worthy of being afforded the same rights as other citizens,” stated Prinsloo.
The court, however, granted the order to recognise the adopted child of Potgieter and Digashu as theirs.