Namibian Lawmakers Back Anti-LGBTQ Legislation Despite Supreme Court Ruling

Afaf Fahchouch
Afaf Fahchouch
2 Min Read
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In a controversial move, Namibian lawmakers have approved legislation that bans same-sex marriage and imposes penalties on its advocates, drawing criticism as an unconstitutional attack on the LGBTQ community. The bill aims to reverse a Supreme Court ruling that previously permitted the recognition of certain unions formed abroad. The legislation passed through the upper house of parliament unopposed.

Lawmaker Elder Filipe, representing the ruling SWAPO party, defended the bill, stating that marriage should strictly be between a man and a woman, citing religious beliefs and morality. The new law redefines “marriage” as a union exclusively between individuals of opposite sexes and defines a “spouse” as one half of a legal union between a biologically-born man and woman.

Additionally, same-sex marriages contracted abroad will not be recognized in Namibia, and celebrating, witnessing, promoting, or advocating such unions will be a criminal offense punishable by up to six years in prison and hefty fines.

LGBTQ rights activist Zindri Swartz expressed dismay, describing the legislation as a direct attack on the LGBTQ community and a gross violation of their dignity and humanity. Although gay sex is already banned under an infrequently enforced 1927 sodomy law, recent court cases have focused on the rights of same-sex couples to marry, become parents, and immigrate in Namibia.

However, critics, including legal experts and opposition politicians, argue that the new law contradicts a Supreme Court ruling and may be unconstitutional, potentially challenging the democratic principles of the nation. The legislation awaits further review and signing by President Hage Geingob before it becomes law.

Afaf Al Fahchouch

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