Ekandjo wants answers on his anti-gay bills

Swapo lawmaker Jerry Ekandjo has questioned the National Assembly speaker’s office about the progress of anti-gay bills that he tabled in parliament last year.

Ekandjo’s private member’s bills – passed by both the National Assembly and National Council – aim to define the term “spouse” and amend the Marriage

Act of 1961 to block the recognition of same-sex marriage in Namibia.

Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex and other (LGBTQI+) community told The Namibian last month that the bills remain unconstitutional and cannot be passed in their current form as they aim for the alienation of a group of Namibians.

Out Right Namibia director Agapitus Hausiku says the fact that the bills were passed by parliament is incomprehensible.

“Even if it’s assented to and it becomes an act, we can challenge the legality of such an act on the basis that it violates the dignity of certain individuals in society. We are all hoping that the president doesn’t sign it, but should the political party who is behind this bill push for the signing of that bill, the community will take legal action,” Hausiku says.

Hausiku says he does not understand how attorney general Festus Mbandeka advised parliament on the passing of the bills.

In July last year, the National Assembly swiftly passed the private member’s bills with minimal amendments, with the proposed legislation receiving overwhelming support from both sides of the aisle.

The spouse bill, in particular, smoothly progressed through the committee stage without objections.

However, Ekandjo proposed an additional amendment clarifying the genetic distinction between men and women.

The marriage amendment bill defines marriage as a union between individuals of opposite sexes and prohibits same-sex marriage.

Subsequently, the bills were swiftly approved by the National Council and forwarded to the then president Hage Geingob for signing a few days later.

Ekandjo raised a question about progress made with the bills following their referral to the president during a session of the National Assembly on Wednesday.

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