The LGBTQ community in Namibia is demanding that the same-sex family be reunited (Photo: Carl Heinz Modler)
Dozens of LGBTQ people rallied in Namibia in support of two baby girls stuck in South Africa because they were born to a same-sex family, as the Windhoek High Court decides their fate.
On Thursday, the High Court heard arguments in an urgent application to order Namibia’s Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security to issue emergency travel certificates for days-old Paula and Maya Delgado Lühl.
The twins were born on 13 March in Durban, South Africa through legal surrogacy. Their Namibian dad, Phillip Lühl was there to take them home to meet their other father, Mexican-born Guillermo Delgado, and their two-year-old brother, Yona.
The Ministry of Home Affairs, however, has refused to issue travel documents for the twins to allow them into the country and has demanded a paternity test to prove that they are Lühl’s biological children. This despite the South African authorities issuing a birth certificate confirming the men as the fathers of the two girls.
Ahead of the hearing on Thursday morning, a vibrant group of LGBTQ+ people and allies marched from the Home Affairs offices to the High Court waving rainbow flags and calling for Paula and Maya to be allowed home. “We are queer, we are here,” the marchers chanted.
Guillermo Delgado and his father attended the hearing in which Judge Thomas Masuku stressed that the court will consider the best interest of the children.
The couple’s lawyer, Unomwinjo Katjipuka-Sibolile asked the court “what kind of society we want to live in and aspire to.”
Phillip Lühl and his daughters
She pointed out that the demand for proof of paternity was a clear case of discrimination as internationally-issued birth certificates have always been accepted by the ministry. “The only reason biology is questioned in this case is because the parents are two men,” she said.
Judge Masuku said he would deliver his judgement in the matter on 19 April, which means that Lühl and his daughters will have to remain in Durban for at least another 25 days.
Lühl and Delgado were married in South Africa in 2014 but Namibia recognises neither same-sex unions nor same-sex families.
*Additional reporting by Chris de Villiers, founder of LGBTQ+ Namibia
Twins in limbo – Namibia tears apart same-sex family