December 1st, 2011
Nigeria’s Coalition for the Defense of Sexual Rights (CDSR) has issued a call to action against the Same Gender Marriage Bill, which passed the Nigerian Senate on Monday. The original bill was ostensibly relatively narrow in scope, imposing prison terms for those enter into any form of same-sex union, and fines for those who solemnize or witness it. But the broad wording for the definition of “Same Gender Marriage” which also included “other purposes of same sexual relationship” worried advocates that the bill would criminalize anyone living together.
As bad as that was, what emerged on Monday was far worse. The Senate’s Committee on Human Rights and Judicial Matters upped the penalties to fourteen years imprisonment for anyone entering into what they broadly defined as a “same gender marriage,” as well as ten years in prison for witnesses or “anyone who helps couples marry.” It also added new penalties making it illegal to register gay clubs or organizations, and criminalized the “public show of same-sex amorous relationships directly or indirectly.” Those who violate those provisions would face 10 years imprisonment. The CDSR says that those penalties were added as retaliation for the appearance of human rights advocates at the committee meeting to criticize the bill:
We are extremely concerned and disappointed with the conduct of the public hearing by the Senate Committee on Human Rights and Judicial Matters on the Same Gender Marriage Prohibition Bill 2011, which was held on Monday 31st, October 2011. A number of delegates from the US and EU countries missions in Nigeria attended the public hearing and noted the biased nature of the public hearing, which included name calling and profiling for civil society organizations and individuals activists opposing the bill.
… We fear that not only the Senate did not listen to the civil society expressing their contrariety to the bill, but in an unprecedented decision, it decided to punish the presence of civil society that was against the bill during the public hearing.
The group says that the new bill “brings us back to the most draconian version of the bill proposed in 2006.” (Some background on the 2006 bill can be found here. You can download the Senate version of the 2006 bill from the Nigerian Senate’s web site here (PDF: 144KB/3 pages). ) CDSR also warns that the bill “tries to criminalize homosexuality and any form of LGBT advocacy, seriously affecting freedom of speech, freedom of expression and association with severe criminal provisions,” and calls on the international community to mobilize as they did against the 2006 bill:
We call on ministers of foreign affairs, foreign missions accredited to Nigeria, international organizations and civil society to send formal letters and statements to the Nigerian president, to the presidents of the Senate and the House of Representatives asking them to:
- Withdraw the bill due to its implications on health, HIV/AIDS and protection of human right.
- Call on the Nigerian President and the Presidents of the Senate and the House of Assembly to guarantee safety and protection for all human rights defenders and all individuals irrespective of their sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or religion.
- Call on the Nigerian government and parliament to respect international human rights law, particularly their obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
- Call on the Nigerian Government to remove discriminatory laws that criminalize sexuality, gender identity and expression in the federal and other parallel legal systems followed in the country.
We call on heads of governments, ministers of foreign affairs and other relevant officials, foreign missions accredited to Nigeria, presidents of Parliamentary Assemblies to raise their concern in public and in private with their Nigerian counterparts in any possible circumstance, making it clear that if this bill were to be approved Nigeria would place itself outside the community of democratic nations, in a moment in which the country is facing serious internal and external anti-democratic threats.
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In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
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Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
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