Thinking Anglicans

Nigeria proposes new legislation on same sex marriage

Updated Wednesday afternoon

Changing Attitude reports on this, see New Bill prohibiting same-sex marriage placed before Nigerian Parliament.

For the third time in five years the Nigerian parliament is considering a law seeking to prohibit same sex marriage after a new bill was presented to the House. The Nigerian Vanguard newspaper reported on Wednesday September 28, 2011, “The bill had its second reading yesterday September 27, just as senators described the act as ungodly, morally and religiously unacceptable”. The bill is sponsored by Senator Domingo Alaba Obende, Edo North senatorial district and had its first reading in July…

Box Turtle Bulletin has the text of the bill, see Here It Is: Nigeria’s Proposal To Criminalize Same-Sex Marriage:

A BTB reader found a copy of Nigeria’s latest proposal to not just ban same-sex marriage (it’s already illegal in Nigeria), but to impose criminal penalties on anyone who enters into a same-sex marriage — as well as for anyone who “witnesses, abets and aids the solemnization of a same gender marriage contract.” The penalty for entering into a same-sex marriage under the proposed measure would be three years’ imprisonment. The penalty for witnessing/aiding/abeting a marriage would bring five years imprisonment or a fine of ₦2,000 (2,000 naria, or US$13 in a country where the average annual income is US$1,200). If a group of persons witness/aid/abet a marriage, the fine is ₦50,000. It’s unclear whether two people at a wedding would be considered two individuals or a group. The bill also does not define what constitutes witnessing, abetting or aiding in the solemnization of a marriage.

This bill is a considerably scaled down from an earlier bill that was being considered as late as 2009…

Meanwhile, the Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Nicholas D. Okoh, spoke recently on this subject, see this report from Anglican Primate Launches Attack against Gay Marriage, Homosexuality.

Peeved by the growing malaise of sexual immorality in the country, Primate, Church of Nigeria, the Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh, has described the practice of homosexuality, lesbianism and gay marriage as great evils that must neither be condoned nor allowed to further exist in our society…

But Changing Attitude also reports that Nigeria Human Rights Defenders condemn 2011 Same Gender Marriage Prohibition Bill.

Wednesday updates

Savi Hensman has written Nigeria’s anti-gay Bill: remembering human rights at Ekklesia.

Some Nigerian politicians are again trying to push through legislation to further criminalise lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people and their friends.

Sex between people of the same gender is already a crime, and in some parts of the country, men who have sex with each other can be put to death – but certain people seem to believe this is not harsh enough.

The Same Gender Marriage (Prohibition) Bill 2011 is a scaled-down version of earlier anti-LGBT bills. These were dropped after strong protests by human rights advocates at home and abroad., “We as a country need to act very fast for this trend not to find its way into our country,” the Bill’s main sponsor, Senator Domingo Obende, reportedly said. “Same sex marriage cannot be allowed on moral and religious grounds. The Muslim religion forbids it. Christianity forbids it and the African traditional religion forbids it. It should not be allowed because it will lead to a breakdown of the society.”

Apparently he warned that the results would be catastrophic if action was not taken to prohibit same-sex marriage: “With the legalisation of same sex marriage, every school in Nigeria would be required to teach that this perversion is the moral equivalent of traditional marriage between a man and a woman. Textbooks would have to depict man/man and woman/woman relationship and stories written for children as young as kindergarten would have to give equal space to homosexuals…

And Changing Attitude reports that Changing Attitude Nigeria will campaign against the prohibition marriage between persons of the same sex bill.

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Father Ron Smith
12 years ago

And the Anglican Church in Nigeria continues to aid and abet the perpetuation of homophobia in that country. Archbishop Okoh, in his recent statement, stands by the criminalisation of Gays and those who support them – despite the statement of Lambeth 1:10, which affects to discourage discrimination again homosexuals.

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
12 years ago

Does anyone have any practical ideas of what we can do to help?

Tobias Haller
Tobias Haller
12 years ago

I still don’t grasp the rationale for the level of fear and anguish in some quarters. The parts of the world where same-sex marriage is tolerated or legal hardly seem to be pits of misery. Ultimately how people treat other people is more important to the “morality” of societies.

David Shepherd
12 years ago

Many in the Nigerian legislature clearly don’t hold to the close personal relationship theory of marriage. Such a strong rejection of this theory for a broad description of marriage is part of that astoundingly useful variation that defies the application of a general (lowest common denominator) rule for marriage.

As for attempts to regulate Nigeria’s internal affairs, international sanctions probably won’t work, especially when an oil-rich state is involved.

12 years ago

Erika, I suppose that we could start by not buying any Royal Dutch Shell products, as they’ve got a big find in Nigeria. Then write and complain to our clerics, especially our bishops, for what that’s worth (they wouldn’t listen to heathen ECUSA bishops anyhow). Then try the government angle, yell and scream at our respective Congresspeople/MP’s. Other than that, unfortunately, there isn’t much that can be done, except to bring light to this terrible situation. With all this nonsense about “Sharia Law” going on in both of our countries, I counter with this atrocity, usually causing a raised eyebrow… Read more »

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