The Anti Same Sex Marriage bill criminalizing same sex marriage and stipulating 14 years imprisonment for Nigerians who engage in same sex relationship has passed through the second reading in the House of Representatives. The House Speaker Aminu Tambuwal has referred the bill to the Committee of the Whole House for consideration.
LGBT rights are Human Rights. As stated in our position paper on the Anti Same Sex marriage bill, Fundamental Human Rights of sexual minorities are violated daily because of criminalization of same sex relationship and societal prejudice.The homophobic bill violates fundamental human rights that are guaranteed under the Nigerian constitution and various human rights regional and international laws and agreements that Nigeria has ratified. Thus this Bill would nullify some parts of the Constitution.
Also, the bill would lead to political and social harassment of people for their actual or imputed sexual orientation. It would also stifle freedom of expression and association through the proposed ban on organizations that support Lesbians and gay rights.
The bill would further affect Nigeria’s Human rights records. Individuals, general society and institutions including the police would use it as a license to intimidate and harass citizens based on their actual or suspected sexual orientation. The passing of the bill would give official validation to the harassment of sexual minorities and many homophobic persons would use it as a license to discriminate against lesbians and gays.
Sodomy law is a relic from British colonization. The British parliament and many of its former colonies e.g. Canada, Australia, South Africa and India have since repealed the law. Why is Nigeria clinging and seeking to strengthen this antiquated and erroneous law through the proposed Anti-same sex relationship bill? The argument that any sexual act or relationship that deviates from the standard heterosexual norm is against African culture is using “culture” to sanction the erasure of dialogue about alternative sexualities and to condone homophobia, therefore constituting a form of cultural violence. A society that stifles sexual and gender identities discourages the recognition of human dignity. LGBTI rights are human rights.
If two people of the same sex want to make their relationship more stable and commit themselves more deeply to each other, this can only be good for Nigeria. It makes no difference whether the couple is gay or straight. We ask that the lawmakers reconsider their decision to pass this bill as it infringes on the Human Rights of Nigerian LGBTs.
Nigeria LGBTIs in Diaspora against Anti Same Sex Laws call on all Nigerians to oppose the Anti Same Sex Marriage bill. If passed, President Goodluck Jonathan must not sign this homophobic bill into law.
Nigerian LGBTIs in Diaspora against Anti Same Sex Laws affirms that LGBT RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS and every Nigerian deserve the same right every other Nigerian enjoys irrespective of class, sex, gender or sexual orientation.
Signed on behalf of Nigerian LGBTI in Diaspora against Anti Same Sex Laws
Yemisi Ilesanmi- firstname.lastname@example.org
Davis Mac-Iyalla – email@example.com
John Adewoye- firstname.lastname@example.org
Mojisola Adebayo- email@example.com
Toyin Ajao- firstname.lastname@example.org