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Nigeria Senate passes law banning gay marriage, formation of gay rights groups

Friday, December 20, 2013
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ABUJA, Nigeria — Nigeria’s Senate on Thursday passed a harsh anti-gay bill banning same-sex marriage and outlawing anyone from forming organizations supporting gay rights, setting prison terms of up to 14 years for offenders.

The Senate in Abuja unanimously adopted a harmonized final version of the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill of the House of Representatives and Senate.

NigeriaThe bill makes it illegal to register gay clubs or organizations, “promote gay marriage or behavior,” “witness or aid gay marriage” and criminalizes the “public show of same-sex amorous relationships directly or indirectly.”

Those who violate those laws would face 10-year imprisonment as well.

“This bill will go through now and it will be signed as quickly as possible,“ stated David Mark, Nigeria’s Senate leader. “The earlier we sign it into law, the better.”

The bill, also known as “Jail All The Gays,” now requires only the signature of President Goodluck Jonathan in order to become law.

Homosexuality is already illegal in the federal system of Nigeria and is punished in different states in varying degrees of severity.

Southern states punish same-sex acts with up to 14 years imprisonment, while northern states punish same-sex acts with a minimum of 14 years imprisonment as well as a fine. In 12 of the northern states, punishments include flogging and death by stoning.

“This law is a complete abuse of human rights,” said Davis Mac-Iyalla, a Nigerian LGBT rights advocate, in a statement to LGBTQ Nation. “Nobody asked for same-sex marriage in Nigeria and it is already illegal, so why is this necessary?”

“It amazes me that Nigeria’s lawmakers prioritizes such a bill when children are dying of starvation, young girls forced into marriage, record level of corruption and rising crime,” he said.

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“This bill is creating an atmosphere of fear, persecution and discrimination totally opposed the heritage, vision and values of the late Nelson Mandela,” added Mac-Iyalla. “I am concerned that this will create a domino effect in Africa, witness how Uganda followed suit immediately and other countries are definitely watching these developments.”

Louis Michel Member of the European Union (EU) Parliment, Co-President EU Parliamentary Assembly told LGBTQ Nation: “I am appalled by the adoption of these bills which means a further deterioration of the human rights situation for LGBT people in the respective countries.”

“These laws are very dangerous and I call upon the EU Member States and our High Representative Catherine Ashton to urge both Presidents to veto them, he said.

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