Court rebukes government over gay rights
The Associated Press, June 25, 1999
WINDHOEK, Namibia - Namibia's high court has ruled that gay and lesbian couples have exactly the same rights in the country as heterosexual couples. The Namibian newspaper said Thursday's ruling was a rebuke to often homophobic government that had sought to deny a German woman a residence permit because of her homosexual relationship with her Namibian partner. In the ruling, seen as a major victory by gay rights groups, Judge Harold Levy also ruled the Ministry of Home Affairs must supply reasons for refusing an application for permanent residence. The judge rejected ministry arguments that the nature of the relationship between Liz Frank, a German, and Elizabeth Khaxas, a Namibian, had no bearing on the application. The couple has been living together for several years and are raising a son.
"Not only is this relationship recognized, but the respondents (Home Affairs) should have taken it into account," Levy said in his ruling. "I have no hesitation is saying that the long-term relationship between the applicants in so far as it is a universal partnership, is recognized by law," wrote Levy. The ruling was seen by gay rights groups as a victory over Home Affairs Minister Jerry Ekandjo who has often expressed the opinion that homosexuality was a foreign affliction and that homosexuals were "worse than pigs and dogs." His views have been echoed by conservative members of the ruling SWAPO party, including President Sam Nujoma.