Supreme Court Gives Legal Status to Same-Sex Marriages in Namibia

The Supreme Court of Namibia has recognized same-sex marriages between citizens and foreign partners, a historic decision in a nation where homosexuality has been against the law. The verdict overturns a High Court decision from 2022 that refused to recognize same-sex unions contracted outside of Namibia. After the ministry of home affairs and immigration declined to provide permits to same-sex foreign spouses whom they had married outside of the country, two Namibian nationals sought redress from the courts.

"This Court accordingly found that the approach of the Ministry to exclude spouses, including the appellants, in a validly concluded same-sex marriage... infringes both the interrelated rights to dignity and equality of the appellants," the ruling said.

The continent's LGBTQI+ communities continue to face attacks on their basic human rights and their ability to access services such as healthcare by governments and religious groups. Zambia's government has said it will not tolerate the promotion of LGBTQI+ rights, saying such rights are against the country's Christian values. In Kenya, Catholic-allied MPs have vowed to mobilise to disband the NGO Board to preempt the imminent registration of a gay rights lobby group.

Meanwhile, in Uganda, a new bill introduced to Parliament seeking to criminalise same-sex conduct and sexual and gender identity, if adopted, would violate multiple fundamental rights, according to Human Rights Watch. In Burundi, prosecutors have charged 24 people with engaging in same-sex acts and inciting homosexuality in others, part of a crackdown on LGBTQI+ rights that has been criticised by the United Nations. In southern Africa, Anglican bishops have agreed at a meeting to prepare formal prayers suitable for providing pastoral care to couples in same-sex civil unions.


Most African countries have tough anti-gay laws.

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