Human rights and gay activists have been keeping a low profile in an attempt to avoid angering Nigerian legislators who have blatant anti-gay attitudes. However, a new bill entitled Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act is moving closer to open discussion and possible passage in the legislature.
The controversial bill would imprison anyone who speaks out or forms a group supporting lesbian and gay people’s rights, and would silence virtually any public discussion or visibility around lesbian and gay lives in Nigeria. According to the proposed legislation there would be a five-year prison sentence on anyone who “goes through the ceremony of marriage with a person of the same sex,” and anyone, including a priest or cleric who “performs, witnesses, aids or abets the ceremony of the same sex marriage” would face the same sentence.
It is not merely this hostile attitude toward gays and lesbians which is of concern, but provisions of the bill which criminalize those who speak out in favor of gays or who hold meetings in support. The bill also makes it illegal to be involved in a same sex relationship even if it is a private affair. The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission have issued a report providing personal accounts of homophobic attacks, arbitrary detentions and arrests.
This type of bill is simply not in accord with world-wide movement in the direction of recognizing the legality of gay and lesbian relationships. I guess the homophobic elements in American might decide to move to Nigeria in order to prevent their children from being contaminated by gays and lesbians.
Information from Afrol