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Nigerian senate passes anti-gay bill

Christian Purefoy and Faith Karimi of CNN reports this as Nigerian senate passes anti-gay bill, defying British aid threat.

The Nigerian senate has passed a bill banning same-sex marriages, defying a threat from Britain to withhold aid from nations violating gay rights.

The bill by Africa’s most populous nation calls for a 14-year sentence for anyone convicted of homosexuality. Anyone who aids or “abets” same-sex unions faces 10 years in prison, a provision that could target rights groups.

It goes to the nation’s House of Representatives for a vote before President Goodluck Jonathan can sign it into law.

Monica Mark writes for The Guardian: Nigeria ready to punish same-sex marriages with 14-year jail terms. “Bill passed by senate in defiance of western pressure against legislation curbing gay rights.”

A bill banning same sex marriages was passed by the Nigerian senate on Tuesday. Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation, and one of the few that hasn’t bowed to western pressure to drop legislation that curbs gay rights.

The bill, which makes same-sex marriage punishable by a 14-year jail term, still has to be ratified by the country’s lower house before being signed off by the president, Goodluck Jonathan. It also seeks to tighten existing legislation, which already outlaws gay sex, by criminalising anyone who witnesses or assists such marriages and making same-sex public displays of affection a jailable offence. Under the new law, groups that support gay rights would also be banned.

Savi Hensman has written about this for Ekklesia: How Nigeria’s anti-gay bill is unjust and victimizing.

The Washington Post has published this article from Associated Press: Nigeria Senate approves bill banning gay marriage, groups in Africa’s most populous nation.

The Moment (which describes itself as “Nigeria’s most independent Newspaper”) reports this story as 14 year jail awaits same sex marriage offenders.

Changing Attitude has published this: Nigerian Senate votes for draconian anti-gay law to ban same-sex marriage.

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SkilboErika BakerJCFLeonardo RicardoTobias Haller Recent comment authors
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JCF
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JCF

Freedom (of Nigeria’s Senators—not their LGBT citizens of course!), it’s time to meet Consquences.

Skilbo
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Skilbo

I’m a Nigerian, living in Nigeria, so it’s great to be the one of the first to post a comment on this article. Africa is homophobic. I know there have been studies written by all kinds of academics about how African societies had a non-homophobic past, but that is besides the point. Twenty-first century Africa is homophobic. Everyone knew that David Cameron’s statement would result in open defiance. The Nigerian bill was entirely predictable. Cast your minds back. African Anglican prelates were willing to forego support from richer Western Churches in order to maintain their stance against homosexuality. Many African… Read more »

Skilbo
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Skilbo

Let me add this for emphasis. Neither Nigeria nor Ghana really need British aid. Nigeria can pump out 2 million barrels of crude oil on a good day and Ghana has several billion barrels of crude oil reserves. Also we may be overstating the importance of aid. Government officials love foreign aid (more money to embezzle), but it means little to the man on the street. For example, I live in Lagos where 75% of all school children attend private schools (primary and secondary) and even the poorest of the poor prefer to seek medical attention from private hospitals. (**DFID… Read more »

JCF
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JCF

“We also have to stop demonising entire populations in Africa and start working to change attitudes to homosexuality.” I agree, Skilbo (FWIW, I have *never* demonized Africans, and I always condemn it whenever I see someone do so. However, I must point out that a generalization like “Africa is homophobic” partakes of the same “they’re all the same” type thinking) “If want we want to achieve is greater acceptance of gays. We need to do something else, and fast.” So, what do YOU think that “something else” should be? As a taxpayer, I will *NOT* subsidize the oppression of my… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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I, for one, appreciate ‘Skilbo’s’ openness on this thread. Firstly, he admits that Nigeria is ‘homophobic’ – this is a matter of fact, and is probably directly related to the influence of the early Christian missionaries. So we Western Christians, who have ‘seen the light’ on the gender and sexuality front, need to appreciate our earlier culture of ignorance on the problems of cultic patriarchalism and its influence on biblical fundamentalism as is embraced today in Christianised African culture. Until the Western Churches admit their failure to encourage hermeneutical research into the affects of cultural empiricism on our planting of… Read more »

Skilbo
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Skilbo

JCF, There are no options. Neither you nor your government has the ability to solve this problem. It will be solved by Africans. You can facilitate the process and you can contribute to spreading awareness, but you cannot solve the problem. That’s the first thing you need to understand. The second thing is that your government doesn’t just give aid for altruistic reasons. Britain benefits much more from Nigeria than vice-versa. Aid is merely a tool to buy influence. Everything else is a “nice to have”. The truth is that your government will huff and puff and make all the… Read more »

Tobias Haller
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Skilbo is exactly correct. More events such as the Chicago/Ujamaa consultation of last month will be needed, where people can gather face to face and speak openly. Such things can’t really be “church sponosred” and the road will be through academia. The event was powerful for all concerned, perhaps most especially for the westerners actually to have the opportunity to hear African concerns and attitudes in a context away from any sense of coercion. Attitudes change from within out, and the western attitude of dominance and moral superiority has to change as well, simply as a practical matter. On the… Read more »

Leonardo Ricardo
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Of course the anti-LGBT ¨religious folk¨ can´t be bought in Africa to act all excepting of ¨Gay¨ citizens…of course the American ¨C¨ Street folk haven´t pushed and promoted anti-LGBT punishment/control in Uganda¨ along with some of the even less ¨noble appearing¨ exporting of homophobia fundamentalist gang of ¨kill the gay¨ instigators. I think somehow the money that is ¨gifting¨ it´s way into many of the most conservative, and often dangerous to LGBT, Anglican Churches in Africa (Uganda is a ¨open to receive¨ example) ought be reminded that substituting the source of income from ¨progressive includers¨ to ¨evangelical zealots haters¨ in… Read more »

Skilbo
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Skilbo

Leonardo, Even the average college-educated, middle-class African is homophobic. And these attitudes have absolutely nothing to do with the sinister machinations of your favourite right-wing American bogey men. It is just the way it is. I’ve worked with the most intelligent and educated Nigerians, and they are almost uniformly homophobic (I’m not talking about Nigerians who live abroad). Consider the Arab Spring. The fantasy was that the facebook warriors and the twitterati were representative of the average Egyptian. The elections results burst that bubble. You have three options, you can vent on about “evangelical zealots” or work to change attitudes… Read more »

JCF
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JCF

I think we would ALL agree about “work to change attitudes”, Skilbo.

The question is, “How?”

LGBTs around the world FEEL FOR (com-passion) our kin in Nigeria (as everywhere else they are persecuted).

Yet your tone of annoyance seems to indicate you would prefer (despite your 3 options above) us to “keep quiet”.

So “Work to change attitudes [I could swear there was an organization w/ that name!], HOW???”

Please be constructive, instead of just reactive (I recognize that goes both ways). Thank you.

Skilbo
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Skilbo

How?

By using the mass media in the local language. American evangelicals have several TV channels I can name (Daystar TV, GOD TV, TBN etc). In addition to scores of outreach materials.

When I mention this, people claim that “we shouldn’t play the same game”. But that’s the best way to communicate directly to the African people.

If one cannot explain in simple language to the average African why gays should be accepted, then not much ground will be gained.

And the FCO and the State Department are not going to do that job for us.

JCF
Guest
JCF

FWIW, as far as my nationality goes, this (not David Cameron) is who speaks for me to the world: http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2011/12/178368.htm

Proud of you, Madame Secretary!

JCF
Guest
JCF

Thank you, Skilbo. That’s helpful. (But “people claim…”? Who would that be? No idea here. O_o)

Well, I don’t want to dominate this thread any longer—but I’d love to hear other responses.

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

JCF
Through Changing Attitude (changingattitude.org.uk) you can get in touch with ‘Changing Attitude in Nigeria’, get to know some of the people and ask them what they think you could do to help.

Skilbo
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Skilbo

JCF, That is welcome news, but how will it pan out. Saudi Arab and the rest of the Arab World are out of bounds. Richer African nations like Nigeria and Ghana can do without the aid. So that leaves us with a few poor non-Islamic nations in Sub-Saharan Africa. (who might seek alternatives like China). At the end of the day, the poor people, not the elite will suffer. Cuba has survived many decades of US sanctions. Mugabe still has his job and he is likely to die in office. There are two methods of enforcing / encouraging behaviour. The… Read more »

Skilbo
Guest
Skilbo

JCF,

Oops, I didn’t read her remarks before posting.

I think the US approach is better. Using aid to promote gay rights is a better course of action than threatening to withhold aid.

Skilbo
Guest
Skilbo

Read this to understand how Africans are reacting to this announcement.

We have a long way to go.

http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=225123&comment=0#com