Nigerian President Signs Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill into Law
Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First today expressed deep disappointment and concern over the news that Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has signed into law the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill which further institutionalizes discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and threatens the human rights of all Nigerians. The law criminalizes same sex-marriage and the public show of same-sex amorous relationships, while also calling for prison terms for anyone who aids or witnesses same-sex marriage or supports the registration, operation and sustenance of gay clubs, societies, organizations, processions or meetings.
“This law threatens the very livelihood of LGBT people and allies in Nigeria and sets a dangerous precedent for persecution and violence against minorities throughout the region,” said Shawn Gaylord of Human Rights First. “It is critical that President Obama immediately condemn this legislation and consider all avenues for response. Government leaders around the world, including President Museveni who is currently considering a similar law in Uganda, will be watching to see how the international community responds to legislation that discriminates against the LGBT community.”
The law calls for prison terms of up to 14 years for same-sex marriage and 10 years in prison for any person who “aids and abets” same-sex marriage, serves as a witness to same-sex marriage, or operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organizations directly or indirectly. The law, which criminalizes any “public show of same-sex amorous relationship,” is meant to squash the most basic human rights and freedom of expression of the LGBT community in Nigeria.
Human Rights First calls on the United States to urge President Jonathan to repeal this law, decriminalize homosexuality, monitor patterns of hate crime against LGBT people, and address impunity for violent acts.