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Published On: Thu, Jan 1st, 2015

Revisiting the ban on same sex marriage

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gayWe wish all our readers a happy new year. On a day like this we wish to revisit the law banning same sex marriage and restate our total support. The resolute stand of our lawmakers and the executive arm of government, is singularly commendable. Despite protests and intense pressure from some countries in Europe and America and activists of same sex affair, the Federal Government signed into law the Bill which criminalizes same sex marriage. The criminalization of same sex relationship is in tandem with the sensibilities of Nigerians, it is also in tune with the cultural and religious values of the people.

The law provides that gays, lesbians in Nigeria will risk a 14-year jail term if they do not retrace their steps and renounce such a union. Also, any person who operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organizations directly or indirectly will earn 10-year imprisonment. Those who administer witness, abet or aid the solemnisation of a same sex marriage will henceforth bag 10-year jail term, according to the law.

The Senate had previously passed the bill in November 2011, while the House of Representatives upheld the decision of the Senate on May 29, 2013. The President assented to the Act on January 7, 2014, thereby ending prolonged lobby and dilly dally that attended the making of the anti gay legislation.

As expected, individuals, groups and countries disposed to the same sex relationship reacted sharply to the action of the Nigerian government, with some threatening diplomatic sanctions. For instance, a state to Canada by President Goodluck Jonathan in February last year was reportedly canceled by the Canadian Government. The cancellation came in the same week the President signed the anti gay/lesbians law. Reports said the Nigerian Ambassador to Canada at the time was told to inform President Jonathan that the visit had been cancelled. There were also threats by the United States (US) to withdraw aid to Nigeria in protest against the law. But the US government later denied the report totally.

The Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, said while fielding questions from newsmen on whether his country would withdraw financial aid to Nigeria on HIV/AIDS, that “absolutely not. But we have to look at it very carefully and make sure that everything we do is in compliance with the new law.”

 

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