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Anti-Gay Law Stirs Uproar in Nigeria

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US says the law violates human rights

An anti-gay law has stirred uproar in Nigeria causing massive arrest of homosexulas and made healdines around the globe.

According to media reports, the Nigerian parliament passed the legislation last year and was signed by President Goodluck Jonathan this month.

The Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act criminalizes gay marriage and civil unions. The new law also imposes punishment of up to 14 years in prison for gay couples who openly display their relationship in a country.

Majority of the population has prohibited homosexuality as immoral behavior as dictated by religion and culture.

Homosexuality dominantly not accepted in Nigeria

According to surveys, the Nigerian citizens is the most intolerant of gays among 39 countries being studied.

Majority of the Nigherian respondents said homosexuality should not be accepted by society.

Sodomy was declared illegal in Nigeria when the Nigerian government proposed measures against legally recognized gay relationships in 2012.

Homosexuals arrested

Since enactmen of the law in December 17, dozens of gay men have been arrested in the country. In some part of the conservative part of the country homosexuality is punishable by death.

US slams the anti-gay law

In a statement in Washington DC, US Secretary John Kerry expressed condemnation of the new law saying that it is a human rights violation.

"The United States is deeply concerned by Nigeria's enactment of the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act." - Secretary Kerry

He added that this law dangerously restricts freedom of assembly, association, and expression for all Nigerians.

jason
Jason Collins became the first active male professional athlete in major American professional sports leagues to publicly come out as gay. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The said law is inconsistent with Nigeria's international legal obligations , he highlighted.

"The law undermines the democratic reforms and human rights protections enshrined in its 1999 Constitution." -Secretary Kerry

Secretary Kerrry stressed that 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." - Secretary Kerry

Leaders of Canada and Britain also expressed concern and condemnation of the newly enacted anti-gay law in Nigeria.

United States has taken historic strides to advance LGBT equality.

President Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which made it a federal crime to violently attack someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity in 2009. She added law enforcement officials in United States now have the tools to respond to gay-bashing and related violent acts wherever they occur in the United States.

President Obama issued a presidential memorandum extending, to the extent permissible under current law, federal benefits to the same-sex domestic partners of U.S. government employees in 2009.

The quest for equality for LGBT persons isn't just an American challenge for must be the work of all peoples and all nations.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain english. Read more stories by Mina Fabulous. Contact Mina through NewsBlaze.

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