Nigeria Takes Its Turn

Jim Burroway

November 13th, 2012

Nigeria is rife with a corruption so massive that despite being the world’s forteenth largest oil producer making it 31st in the world in GDP, its per-capita income is just under $3,000 per year. It is fighting a violent insurgency by the Islamist group Boko Haram which threatens to divide the country and plunge it into civil war. Which can mean only one thing. It’s time to go after the gays again:

Lawmakers moved a step closer Tuesday to approving a bill that would harshly crack down on gay rights, including banning same-sex marriage and public displays of affection between homosexual couples.

The bill which has already been approved by the Senate passed a second reading in the House of Representatives with an unanimous vote and will now see a clause-by-clause review in the chamber at an undetermined date.

In September 2011, a bill which would ostensibly ban same-sex marriage was introduced in the Senate. After several more provisions were added and penalties increased, it sailed through in December. As passed by the Senate, the bill doesn’t just ban same-sex marriage. It imposes criminial penalties of ten to fourteen years imprisonment for entering into a marriage or civil union, conducting or witnessing a ceremony, or even performing a public display of affection. It also, by the way, just happens to criminalize any organization which would provide services or advocacy on behalf of gay people. The relevant portions of the bill as passed by the Senate include:

5. (1) Persons who entered into a same sex marriage contract or civil union commit an offence and are each liable on conviction to a term of 14 years imprisonment.

(2) Any person who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organisation, or directly or indirectly make public show of same sex amorous relationship in Nigeria commit an offence and shall each be liable on conviction to a term of 10 years imprisonment.

(3) Any person or group of persons that witness, abet and aids the solemnization of a same sex marriage or civil union, or supports the registration, operation and sustenance of gay clubs, societies, organisations, processions or meetings in Nigeria commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a term of 10 years imprisonment.

The full text of the bill is here. A final vote in the House would come after a clause-by-clause review. If passed, it would then go to President Goodluck Jonathan for his signature.

Tom in Lazybrook

November 14th, 2012

This Nigerian Bill enjoys the direct and public support of the Roman Catholic Church. The Nigerian Conference of Catholic Bishops issued the following statement on its website (since pulled down, I have a screenshot – if you have a wayback machine the original link was http://www.cbcn-ng.org/newsdetail.php?tab=27 )…

From the Catholic Church’s website (entire discussion of the issue within quotes)

“The Same-Sex-Union Issue
The Nigerian Senate last week voted to outlaw same-sex unions and all such public manifestations to the great relief of most Nigerians. We note that the Senate took this courageous and hope-inducing decision in the face of considerable internal and international pressure to do the exact opposite. Nigeria has in fact since then been directly asked by some Western countries to reverse this decision or forfeit certain aids and support. We wish to strongly support the prohibition of same-sex union as an expression both of our cultural values as Nigerians and our religious belief as Christians. Far from being a denial of the fundamental right of some Nigerians who would engage in it, such a prohibition protects our society from the usurpation of its right to moral health and cultural decency. We declare that no country has the right to impose on another such conditions as are likely to upset its common cultural and societal values just to satisfy the exotic desires and tendencies of a few.”

This statement was issued in an official communique of the Roman Catholic Church on the website of the Nigerian Catholics Bishops Conference and signed by Archbishop Job of Ibadan and Bishop Martins of Nigeria. It was issued the same week as the Nigerian Senate took up debate on the legislation you referenced. This direct and public support of the legislation that seeks to jail all Gay persons in the nation for the ‘crime’ of existing, petitioning their government for redress, assembling or associating (even in private), conducting religious ceremonies, or enjoying freedom of press or speech is quite shocking. This bill could make the Episcopal Church illegal, or even a meeting of Courage.

Far from being a quiet ‘throwaway statement’, the Roman Catholic Church’s public support for this legislation was covered by the mass media in Nigeria. The Daily Trust (via All Africa) reported this support on 13 December 2011.

There is not a difference between the Catholic Church in Nigeria and the USA. Same liturgy, same leadership. How are the actions of the Roman Catholic Church consistent with Catechism 2358? Why are the US Conference of Catholic Bishops still in communion with the Nigerian Conference of Catholic Bishops. Why hasn’t the Vatican gotten involved here, seeing as they apparently micromanage political events? Why hasn’t the Vatican condemned Nigerian Senator David Mark (a Catholic who is apparently a supporter of the legislation) while condemning American Catholics who support same sex rights.

SharonB

November 14th, 2012

Time to cut all non-humanitarian foreign aid for them.

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