Nigeria outlaws same sex marriage

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan passed legislation in January that outlaws same sex marriage, imposing penalties of up to 14 years in prison for violators.
Posted By JC Finley  |  Jan. 13, 2014 at 1:46 PM
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Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed into law the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act in January, prompting criticism from world leaders, including the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

According to Nigerian media, the legislation was signed by the president on January 7 following passage in the National Assembly. The new law prohibits same sex marriage, gay clubs, and public displays of affection between same sex people.

"A marriage contract or civil union entered into between persons of same sex: (a) is prohibited in Nigeria; and (b) shall not be recognized as entitled to the benefits of a valid marriage.

"A marriage contract or civil union entered into between persons of same sex by virtue of a certificate issued by a foreign country is void in Nigeria, and any benefit accruing there-from by virtue of the certificate shall not be enforced by any court of law.

"A marriage contract or civil union entered into between persons of same sex shall not be sole nixed in a church, mosque or any other place of worship of Nigeria.

"No certificate issued to persons of same sex in a marriage or civil union shall be valid in Nigeria. Only a marriage contracted between a man and a woman shall be recognized as valid in Nigeria.

"The registration of gay clubs, societies and organizations, their sustenance, processions and meetings is prohibited.

"The public show of same sex amorous relationship directly or indirectly is prohibited."

If violated, various prison terms may be imposed, including a penalty of 14 years in prison for same sex marriages, 10 years in prison for organizers and participants of gay clubs, and 10 years in prison for anyone who administers or witnesses the marriage of a same sex couple.

Secretary of State Kerry expressed "deep concern" about the new legislation on Monday.

"Beyond even prohibiting same sex marriage, this law dangerously restricts freedom of assembly, association, and expression for all Nigerians.

"Moreover, it is inconsistent with Nigeria’s international legal obligations and undermines the democratic reforms and human rights protections enshrined in its 1999 Constitution.

"People everywhere deserve to live in freedom and equality. No one should face violence or discrimination for who they are or who they love.

"We join with those in Nigeria who appeal for the protection of their fellow citizens’ fundamental freedoms and universal human rights."

[The Nation] [State Department]

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