And those who try to sanctify alimentary antics with wedding vows will get a decade.
A prison in Nigeria, which is 50 percent Muslims, 40 percent Christian, and 10 percent other, is not a place one wants to be, as Amnesty International (AI) has reported, which might be one reason the news has upset leftists everywhere, from AI to the enraged British. The latter seem more worried about “homophobia” in Nigeria than the anti-homosexual hatred, courtesy of the country’s Muslims, in downtown London.
No Gay Marriage for Us
The bill passed earlier this week, and it awaits passage by the country’s House of Representatives and a signature from its President, the fortuitously monikered Goodluck Jonathan (shown above).
The penalties in the bill and comments from legislators make one thing clear. Nigerians don’t much cotton to the Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name.
Anyone convicted of homosexual sodomy would land in prison for 14 years, and anyone who witnesses or assist a homosexual couple’s “marriage” could go to prison for 10. “That's an increase over the bill's initial penalties, which lawmakers proposed during a debate Tuesday televised live from the National Assembly in Nigeria's capital Abuja,” The Associated Press reported:
Other additions to the bill include making it illegal to register gay clubs or organizations, as well as criminalizing the "public show of same-sex amorous relationships directly or indirectly." Those who violate those laws would face 10-years imprisonment as well.
Again, Nigerian lawmakers were clear: They don’t care what other nations, particularly the leftist European Union, think about their law.
Other lawmakers used the occasion to crack wise about what a prison would mean for a homosexual in Nigeria. According to AP, “Senate President David Mark at one point started laughing when a senator proposed 40-year prison sentences for gay couples who marry.” Said Mark: “Forty years, that is just too much,” he said. “He won’t come out alive now.”
Opposition From the Usual Suspects
Unsurprisingly, the international Left is aghast. Said Erwin van der Borght, director of AI’s Africa Program, “Nigeria’s House of Representatives should show leadership and uphold the rights of all in Nigeria by rejecting this reprehensible bill.” He continued:
If passed, this measure would target people on the basis of their identity, not merely their behaviour, and put a wide range of people at risk of criminal sanctions for exercising basic rights and opposing discrimination based purely on a person’s actual or presumed sexual orientation or gender identity.
Van der Borght also worries that “the bill will expand Nigeria's already draconian punishments for consensual same-sex conduct and set a precedent that would threaten all Nigerians' rights to privacy, equality, free expression, association and to be free from discrimination,” AP reported.
As well, AI reported at its website, the bill would thwart Nigeria’s efforts to prevent HIV transmission by driving people already suffering stigma for their identity or consensual sexual behaviour still further underground.”
Van der Borght frets about the usual “chilling effect”:
This bill would have a chilling effect on a range of civil society organizations and events while inciting hatred and violence against anyone suspected of practicing same-sex relationships, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.
By aiming to single out and deprive the rights of one group of people, this bill threatens all Nigerians by violating the country’s Constitution and international human rights obligations.
Oddly, in March, President Jonathan signed into a law a human rights bill with which AI was quite pleased.
Britain, which once ruled Nigeria, and ironically created the anti-sodomy laws Nigeria’s Senate has strengthened, is threatening to withhold foreign aid. CNN reported this shocking statement from British Prime Minister David Cameron. “This is something we raise continually,” the British Prime Minister said, comparing homosexuality to Christianity:
We’re also saying that British aid should have more strings attached in terms of "do you persecute people for their faith or their Christianity or do you persecute people for their sexuality?"
We don’t think that’s acceptable. So look, this is an issue where we want movement, we’re pushing for movement, we‘re prepared to put some money behind what we believe.
What Cameron thinks about the Muslims who have declared Tower Hamlets in London a gay free zone, or the Muslims who make animal noises when homosexual British lawmakers appear in public, he did not say.
Anti-homosexual legislation and laws are rife in Africa. And Africans don’t want the British telling them what to do. The spokesman for the Ugandan government, for instance, told Cameron to shove off, calling the Prime Minister’s rhetoric “patronizing” and “colonial,” CNN reported. “We are working hard to limit our reliance on foreign governments for this reason," he said. "Statements like the one Cameron is making are false. Our cultural norms and values don't accept homosexuality, but there is no policy against gay people.”
Do not get tempted into that [homosexuality] madness. You are young people. If you go that direction, we will punish you severely. It is condemned by nature. It is condemned by insects and that is why I have said they are worse than pigs and dogs.
Other nations also denounced Cameron’s imperial quest on behalf of buggery. Reported CNN:
Ghanaian President John Atta Mills, a major western ally, applauded the benefits of foreign aid, but said the nation will not accept money that will undermine its interest.
“I will never initiate or support any attempt to legalize homosexuality in Ghana," he told journalists this month, according to state media. "As government we will abide by the principles as contained in our Constitution, which is supreme.”
Tanzanian officials decried the remarks, saying they “can lead to broken relations” between the two nations.
The Nigerian Senate was wrong to pass legislation that not only imposes criminal penalties against consenting adults in same-sex relationships, but also criminalizes any group or organization that publicly supports or advocates for LGBT rights. Such legislation would have a chilling effect on freedom of speech and expression in Nigeria and have grave implications for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment efforts. I urge the Nigerian House of Representatives to reject this reprehensible legislation, and should this bill be presented to President Jonathan for his signature, I would hope that he would veto it. The Nigerian government has an obligation under international law to guarantee the safety and protection of all human rights defenders regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.
Both Christian and Islamic Nigerians do not agree.
Photo: Goodluck Jonathan