The High Court of Namibia Thursday ruled against recognizing same-sex marriages.
The judge agreed with the arguments put forward by the applicants, but he held that the High Court is bound by precedent. The Supreme Court had previously held in the case of Chairperson of the Immigration Selection Board v. Frank that same-sex relationships are not legal in Namibia.
Two same-sex couples had filed a joint application for recognition of their marriages. The parties were married in South Africa and Germany, respectively, to Namibian citizens.
Judges Hannelie Prinsloo, Orben Sibeya and Esi Schimming-Chase noted that they must follow the 20-year-old Supreme Court ruling even though the reasoning is outdated and wrong. They further noted that it is time to recognize that homosexuality is part and parcel of the fabric of society and that homosexual relationships must be afforded the same rights as other citizens.
The court also stated that the Supreme Court had wrongly interpreted international law in the Frank case. They further found that this discrimination based on orientation amounted to “cherry-picking of human rights” and stated that: “The Constitution must, because it is a moving, living, evolving document, stand evolution and the test of time, be broadly interpreted so as to avoid the austerities of tabulated legalism.”
Applicants’ Lawyer Carli Schickerling said that they are “moderately satisified” with the judgment and are likely to appeal to the Supreme Court.