Tax payers foot state’s LGBTQ discrimination

16 November 2021 | Justice

Windhoek • [email protected]

The Namibia Equal Rights Movement on Monday called on home affairs minister Albert Kawana and government to stop abusing tax payers’ money to discriminate against LGBTQ Namibians.
“We call upon Albert Kawana, the ministry of homophobic affairs, that continuously, blatantly uses tax payers’ dollars to degrade an entire family,” Ndiilokelwa Nthengwe said, standing with a small group of protestors at the home affairs ministry headquarters.
The group’s call comes in response to an appeal filed by the ministry at the Supreme Court, to overturn a High Court decision that granted citizenship to the two year old, surrogacy born son of Namibian Phillip Lühl, and his spouse, Guillermo Delgado.
The group also condemned the silence of President Hage Geingob, cabinet members and ministries. “All the institutions that are silent on the current appeal are all complicit in state sanctioned homophobia,” Nthengwe said. “They are all complicit in the institutional abuse of authority through the ministry of homophobic affairs. We cannot allow for this institution to continuously carry on as if what they are doing is constitutional, because it is not.”
Ndiilo accused the home affairs ministry of “trying to tear families apart, you our ripping our equality and justice apart, you are ripping the constitution apart.”

Omar van Reenen of Equal Rights argued that “the last time a government told people in this country that they cannot love one another solely based on the colour of their skin was during Apartheid. Now, we see a government tell people that they cannot love one another, they cannot have children, start a family, solely based on their gender and sexual orientation.”
He added that despite Geingob’s emphasis that the Namibian house is an all-inclusive refuge for all Namibians and their children, this case has proven otherwise.
“Whose children? Only the children of heterosexual Namibians? Because here is a queer family whose children are being locked out of this supposedly all inclusive house. Shame on your President Geingob, for being complicit for allowing your cabinet to use our tax payers’ money to target children, to target families,” Van Reenen added.
He said the three Lühl-Delgado children have become “collateral to government’s state sanctioned homophobia”.
In their appeal, the ministry argued that sexual orientation is not a listed ground for discrimination in Namibia, and that the ministry’s handling of the Lühl citizenship by descent case was based on Namibian law not recognising same sex partnerships.

No shock
Lühl and Delgado on Monday said the appeal did not come as a shock, based on their long history with the ministry.
Lühl said in his view there is “hardly a basis on which this appeal will stand in the Supreme Court”, noting that the narrow view of the constitution taken by the home affairs ministry should fail.
He said on a more positive outlook, the appeal could help cement the October High Court judgement by Judge Thomas Masuku, which emphasised that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is discriminatory.
“It could create an even stronger precedent that the High Court judgement did.”

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