CommunityPam's House Blend

Nigeria: gays banned from existence


Dear Leader with his old bud, homobigot Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo.


This, my friends, is what our home-grown bible beaters would like to see in this country. Nigeria is prepared to criminalize its gay and lesbian citizens. If someone expresses same-sex love in letter or email, that could land you in the clink for five years.

Passage of this law will result in terror and death for many for even appearing to be gay. Will the world turn a blind eye to this bill, entitled “The Prohibition of Relationships Between Persons of the Same Sex, Celebration of Marriage by Them, and for Other Matters Connected Therewith”? (UKGayNews):

A new bill, currently being debated in the Nigerian parliament, is the most comprehensively homophobic legislation ever proposed in any country in the world.

Its extremism is rivalled only by the death penalty that exists for homosexuality in several Islamic fundamentalist states.

The bill is primarily concerned with banning same-sex marriage, but its sub-clauses go much further.  They will strip lesbian and gay Nigerians of their already limited civil rights.  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.

And violations will be punished with an automatic five year jail sentence.

…The 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.

Even mere socialising by two or more gay people is likely to be interpreted as illegal.

You have to wonder, as Secretary of State, does Condi have any opinion on this development in an oil-rich, corrupt state?  Human rights aren’t exactly on Obasanjo’s agenda. As if human rights violations matter to the Bush administration.

You can contact the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria here. Other contact information: Ambassador Professor George A. Obiozor, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 3519 International Court NW, Washington, DC 20008.  Telephone  (202) 986 8400.  Fax: (202) 775 1385.  Email: gobiozor@nigeriaembassyusa.org


UPDATE: A view from those in the country. In an email passed on to me that was distributed on the euro-queer email list, Human Rights Watch urged people not to contact the embassy, upon the request of Nigerian LGBT activists for this reason:

The consistent message from Nigerian LGBT, sexual rights, and human rights activists for months now has been NOT to apply international pressure, unless the bill suddenly starts to move–because that pressure from the North might give politicians a political opening to push the bill forward “in defense of Nigerian values.” In fact, Human Rights Watch has had a short report on the bill ready for months. We have not released it because we listened to our Nigerian colleagues, who told us that it might worsen the situation, and that we should hold it in abeyance unless an emergency arose.

***

And for those out there who think this development has no connection to these shores, the new legislation is backed by the Anglican Church in Nigeria and its notoriously homophobic Archbishop, Peter Akinola, who has said that the growing acceptance of gay relationships is a “satanic attack” on his church, and “homosexuality seeks to destroy marriage as we know it.”

Even more outrageous is that eleven Episcopal churches in Virginia recently voted to align themselves with Akinola after their displeasure at the American church’s more gay-affirming stance, and the consecration of the church’s first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.

Also:
* Archbishop Desmond Tutu blasts the African Anglican bigots

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

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