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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 25, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 47
Gay Humanists "dismayed and outraged" at Nigerian anti-gay bill
Section One
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Gay Humanists "dismayed and outraged" at Nigerian anti-gay bill

The UK gay Humanist charity the Pink Triangle Trust, a member of the International Humanist & Ethical Union, has expressed its dismay and outrage at the news that Nigeria's Senate has voted in favour of a bill which will criminalize gay marriage, gay advocacy groups and same-sex public displays of affection. It will make it illegal to register gay clubs or organizations, as well as criminalizing the "public show of same-sex amorous relationships directly or indirectly." Under the proposed law, couples who marry could face up to 14 years each in prison. Witnesses or anyone who helps couples marry could be sentenced to 10 years behind bars.

The bill, now much more wide-ranging than its initial draft, must be passed by Nigeria's House of Representatives and signed by President Goodluck Jonathan before becoming law. However, public opinion and lawmakers' calls for even harsher penalties show the widespread support for the measure in the deeply religious nation. "Such elements in society should be killed," said Sen. Baba-Ahmed Yusuf Datti of the opposition party Congress for Progressive Change, drawing some murmurs of support from the gallery.

Commenting on this development the PTTs secretary George Broadhead said: 'Gays and lesbians already face open discrimination and abuse in a country divided by Christians and Muslims who almost uniformly oppose homosexuality. In the areas in Nigeria's north where Islamic Sharia Law has been enforced for about a decade, gays and lesbians can face death by stoning.

'It seems that there is a very real threat that this barbaric bill will become law and if it does, Nigeria will become the most homophobic nation in Africa. Even in South Africa, the one country where gays can marry, lesbians have been brutally attacked and murdered. If the bill is legalised, the situation for LGBT people in Nigeria will become completely untenable and set a precedent that would threaten all Nigerians' rights to privacy, equality, free expression and association.

'It is clear that the impetus for such legislation has come from religious sources and the Nigerian Humanist Movement (NHM), which has had financial support from the PTT, has been one of the few heterosexual institutions defending LGBT rights in the county. Its Executive Director Leo Igwe deserves much credit for courageously speaking up for their rights in the countrys parliament.'

The Pink Triangle Trust
Spring House, 34 Spring Lane,
Kenilworth, Warwickshire CV8 2HB,
United Kingdom
Tel. 44 (0)1926 858450
www.pinktriangle.org.uk/
Blog: www.ptt-blog.blogspot.com/

The Pink Triangle Trust is named after the pink triangle that gay men had to wear in the Nazi concentration camps. The registered charity was set up in 1992 to advance the education of the public and particularly of lesbians and gay men, in the principles and practice of Humanism and to advance the education of the public, and particularly of Humanists, about all aspects of homosexuality. It may also assist individuals to obtain remedies under the law where they have suffered unlawful discrimination on account of their homosexuality or their Humanism.

The PTT is: A member of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, a member of the Cutting Edge Consortium, a member of the Alliance for a Secular Europe, a sponsor of Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans History Month, a sponsor of the Uganda Humanist Schools Trust (UK), A supporter of the Secular Europe Campaign, a supporter of the Nigerian Humanist Movement.

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