Reactions have continued to trail Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan’s signing of the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act on January 7, 2014.
The law says anyone who participates in gay clubs or “makes public show of a same-sex amorous relationship in Nigeria” commits an offense and faces up to 10 years in prison.
Anyone who enters a same-sex marriage or civil union contract could face up to 14 years in prison.
The bill was passed by the National Assembly last May but Jonathan had delayed signing it into law until now.
Condemnation from the West
The law met with condemnation from the United States, Britain and Canada, with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in a statement, saying the U.S. was “deeply concerned” about the law, which he said undermines the protections enshrined in Nigeria’s constitution
He said, “The United States is deeply concerned by Nigeria’s enactment of the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act.
“Beyond even prohibiting same-sex marriage, this law dangerously restricts freedom of assembly, association and expression for all Nigerians.
“The law 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,” he added.
UN human rights chief, Navi Pillay said: “Rarely have I seen a piece of legislation that in so few paragraphs directly violates so many basic, universal human rights.”
The Canadian government has also called on Nigeria to repeal the anti-gay law and expressed concern over the criminalization of homosexuality in Nigeria.
The Canadian government, in a statement by its Foreign Affairs Minister, John Baird, said, “Canada is deeply concerned that Nigeria has adopted a law that further criminalizes homosexuality. This law can be used to impose prison sentences of up to 14 years.
“We call on Nigeria to repeal this law, to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedom of all Nigerians regardless of their sexual orientation.
“Canada has clearly spoken out against human rights violations committed against people on the basis of their sexuality, and we will continue to do so.”
What the Bible and Quran say about same sex marriage and relationships
Both Muslims and Christians are overwhelmingly opposed to gay rights in Nigeria. Both holy books clearly frown at the act and incidentally, both have records of how a town was destroyed due to same sex relationships.
The story was told in the Bible of Lot, who was visited by three angels and being handsome looking men, the men of the town of Sodom asked Lot to surrender his visitors to them that they might sleep with them. Their advances were rejected and they were all made blind before the entire city was destroyed for the act. Genesis 19 vs 1-30.
Direct instructions in the Bible against same sex intercourse can be found in the following scriptures.
1Cor. 6:9 – “No homosexuals shall inherit the Kingdom of God”
Leviticus 18:22 – “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination”
Leviticus 20:3 – “If a man sleeps with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall be put to death.”
Romans 1: 26-27 – “And likewise also, the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust towards each other. Men with men, working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was met. God gave them over to a reprobate mind.”
Quran, (Al-A’raf) 7 : 80-81 – “And remember Lot when he said to his people: ‘Do you commit the sin such as none preceding you has committed among mankind and the Jinn?
“Verily, you practice your lusts on men instead of women. Nay, but you are a people transgressing beyond bounds (by committing great sins)”
Quran (Hud) 11:17 – “And when our messengers came to Lut (Lot) he was grieved on account of them and felt himself straitened for them (lest the town people should approach them to commit sodomy with them). He said: “This is a distressful day”.
Quran (As Saffat) 37: 134-138 – “Allah (SWT) destroyed the people of Lut and saved Prophet Lut (AS) and hisfamily except his wife for she was among the transgressors.”
“Then we destroyed the rest (the town of Sodom at the place of the Dead Sea now in Palestine). Verily, you pass by them in the morning and at night; will you not then reflect?”
Popular reactions from Nigerians on gay marriage
Popular cleric, Prophet T.B. Joshua, lent his views to the bill during an interactive session on his Facebook page where he agreed that same sex relationship wasn’t ideal but declined to accept punishment for gays.
He said, “Judge not, so that you will not be judged. We should talk to people to be saved and not to die. I mean, we should talk salvation, not condemnation. The Bible is my standard.
“If my parents were one, I would not have been given birth to. Those that are asking this question – if your parents were one, you would not have been given birth to. You that are reading this today, if your parents were one, you will not have been given birth to. God bless the reader and the hearer.”
General Secretary of CAN, Rev. Musa Asake – “The thing that bothers me is that, none of them in the US that is promoting this thing have gays in their family.
“We are solidly behind our president for doing the right thing. Can they allow their sons and daughters to marry each other like that or why are they bothered to meddle into our own affairs?
“I congratulate our president, our legislature, this is the right thing we are doing. We don’t have to drift into a situation where we don’t have moral values, because somebody is helping you with a little money. Let them hold on to their money, we will still survive by the grace of God.”
Secretary General of Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, CSN, Rev. Fr Ralph Madu – “Don’t forget that culturally, morally and biblically it is not right, we cannot swallow everything from Europe and America. These are some of the things they brought to us and want us to swallow. “The President and the National Assembly are in the right direction as far as this matter is concerned. The US is free to raise eyebrow. After all, their own government is not against homosexuality and all that.
“This is the first time we are doing the correct thing that is not in their own way of doing things. They should not forget that in certain matters like this, the tradition, culture, religion and many factors that go beyond giving money will come to play, and that is what Nigeria has done. We have no apology for that.”