The most comprehensively homophobic legislation ever proposed
New legislation currently being debated by politicians in Nigeria could be the most serious crackdown on the rights of gay and lesbian people since the Iranian revolution.
The Prohibition of Relationships Between Persons of the Same Sex, Celebration of Marriage by Them, and for Other Matters Connected Therewith, is the title of the bill.
It has been approved by the Nigerian Federal Executive Council and is now before the National Assembly. It is expected to be passed and become law shortly.
The president, Olusegun Obasanjo, controls the Executive Council and his Nigerian People's Party has a majority in the both the Senate and House of Representatives. Although a centrist party, they derive most of their support from the Christian south
of the country, and the Anglican church played an active role in promoting this legislation.
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell contacted PinkNews.co.uk to draw attention to the nature of the new legislation, which has the active backing of other Christian churches in Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa: The bill outlaws
almost every expression, affirmation and celebration of gay identity and sexuality, and prohibits the provision of sympathetic advice and welfare support to lesbians and gay men. This draconian measure will outlaw membership of a gay group,
attending a gay meeting or protest, advocating gay equality.
Donating money to a gay organisation, hosting or visiting a gay website, the publication or possession of gay safer sex advice, renting or selling a property to a gay couple, expressions of same-sex love in letters or emails, attending a same-sex
marriage or blessing ceremony, screening or watching a gay movie, taking or possessing photos of a gay couple, and publishing, selling or loaning a gay book or video.
The new law carries an automatic five year jail sentence for those who break it.
Despite protests of governments and human rights activists, the Nigerian government have pressed ahead with the new laws, which are in contravention of various international treaties. Homosexuality is already illegal in
the country. Nigeria's criminal code penalises consensual homosexual conduct between adults with 14 years imprisonment.
The Anglican Church, who have a huge powerbase in Nigeria, have been key in promoting this bill. The church has been increasingly vocal about its disapproval of the position of women and gay men in the English and American churches.
The bill currently being debated in the Nigerian parliament, is the most comprehensively homophobic legislation ever proposed in any country in the world, " said Peter Tatchell: We appeal to gay and human rights groups worldwide to
take urgent action to press the Nigerian government to uphold international human rights law and to drop this draconian legislation.
Update: United Nations Against Nigeria
United Nations Press Release
United Nations human rights experts Friday condemned a proposed Nigerian law banning gay marriage and tightening laws criminalizing homosexuality in the country.