30th May, 2013
Any hope of having gay marriage bill passed into law in Nigeria was dashed today by Nigerian lawmakers. Rather a bill to outlaw gay marriage and crack down on gay rights, including criminalising public displays of affection between same-sex couples was passed.
The House of Representatives unanimously approved the bill which provides for jail terms of up to 14 years for gay marriage.
This was sequel to a clause-by-clause consideration of a Bill for an Act to prohibit marriage or union entered between persons of same sex, at the Committee of the Whole.
“Marriage or civil union entered between persons of same gender shall not be solemnised in any place of worship, either church or mosque or any place in Nigeria,” it said.
Albert Sam-Tsokwa ( PDP-Taraba), who introduced the bill, said that it sought to achieve a far reaching objective by outlawing same sex marriage and provide punishment for offenders.
It also set out a 10-year sentence for “any person who directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationships’’.
“Any persons or group of persons that administers, witnesses, screen and shields the solemnisation of same sex marriage in Nigeria on conviction, will be liable to 10 years imprisonment.’’
A similar bill has already been approved by the Senate.
If there are no differences between the two, the bill will now go to the president for his approval.
Beyond concerns about gay rights in Africa’s most populous nation, some have also questioned whether funding channelled through non-governmental organisations in Nigeria for AIDS treatment would be put in jeopardy by the bill.
The bill is expected to be sent to the Senate for concurrence.