Nigeria Human Rights Defenders Condemn 2011 Same Sex Marriage Bill

Published: September 30, 2011

After hearing that Nigeria’s parliament is again considering a law seeking to prohibit same sex marriage, Nigerian human rights defenders have issued a statement of condemnation.

The statement comes on the heels of the activities of Tuesday September 27 when Nigerian parliamentarians sat through the second reading of the bill as Nigerian senators described homosexuality as “ungodly, morally and religiously unacceptable.”

The full statement by the human rights defenders is below:

“We, the Coalition for the Defence of Sexual Rights were shocked and deeply concerned by the news published in the Nigerian press about the re-introduction of ‘A bill for an act to prohibition marriage between persons of same gender, solemnisation of same and for other matters related therewith’

“Similar bills appeared before the House in 2006 and 2008 and were critically analysed both times by human rights activists, who articulated the dangers of the bills to a democratic society.

“We wish to remind the parliament that Nigeria is a secular state. This means that the laws of our land cannot and should not be drafted and/or enacted on the basis of a particular religious and cultural value. These values already indicate the diversity of Nigeria as a heterogeneous society–hence our federal system of government.

“We as human rights defenders are aware that not a single gay group has asked for the right to marry. Our advocacy is not directed at that. We are advocating for tolerance and respect for everyone irrespective of his or her sex, gender, age, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation and gender identity, etc. These rights are not illusionary. They are rights that Nigeria’s same –sex loving people derive from Chapter IV of the Nigerian constitution, which lists the fundamental rights enjoyed by all Nigerians, including the rights to freedom from discrimination, to personal liberty, to human dignity, and to private life.

“Furthermore, we feel deeply threatened by the proposed paragraph 4(2) of the bill, which provides greater criminal liability to anyone who abets and aids same-sex marriage. An individual would face up to five years’ imprisonment.

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