Nigeria Approves Anti-Gay Marriage Bill

Nigeria criminalizes gay marriage, gay-advocacy groups and same-sex public displays of affection.

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President Goodluck Jonathan may sign the bill into law. (Getty)

NPR is reporting that the Nigerian Senate has passed an anti-gay bill that criminalizes gay marriage, gay-advocacy groups and same-sex public displays of affection. On Tuesday Africa's most populous nation passed the bill, which can now be signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan.

The Associated Press reports:

The bill, now much more wide-ranging than its initial draft, must be passed by Nigeria's House of Representatives and signed by President Goodluck Jonathan before becoming law. However, public opinion and lawmakers' calls Tuesday for even harsher penalties show the widespread support for the measure in the deeply religious nation.

Under the proposed law, couples who marry could face up to 14 years each in prison. Witnesses or anyone who helps couples marry could be sentenced to 10 years behind bars. That's an increase over the bill's initial penalties, which lawmakers proposed during a debate Tuesday televised live from the National Assembly in Nigeria's capital Abuja.

Other additions to the bill include making it illegal to register gay clubs or organizations, as well as criminalizing the "public show of same-sex amorous relationships directly or indirectly." Those who violate those laws would face 10-year imprisonment as well.

How interesting is it that a country divided by religious conflict can agree on criminalizing gay rights? You would think that with all the drama, corruption and conflict in Nigeria, they would have better things to do than to imprison and stone people for their sexual orientation. As my late grandmother would say, they're focused on the wrong thing.   

Read more at NPR. 

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