Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Monday, 29 January 2007

Gay rights in Nigeria, such as they are, are likely to be severely curtailed

A Bill currently being debated by the Nigerian Parliament will impose very severe sanctions on all aspects of homosexual expression:


The Bill is entitled: “The Prohibition of Relationships Between Persons of the Same Sex, Celebration of Marriage by Them, and for Other Matters Connected Therewith.”

The draconian measure will, quite apart from its principal aims as outlined in the title, outlaw membership of a gay group, attending a gay meeting or protest, advocating gay equality, donating money to a gay organisation, hosting or visiting a gay website, the publication or possession of gay safer sex advice, renting or selling a property to a gay couple, expressions of same-sex love in letters or emails, attending a same-sex marriage or blessing ceremony, screening or watching a gay movie, taking or possessing photos of a gay couple, and publishing, selling or loaning a gay book or video.

Even mere socialising by two or more gay people is likely to be interpreted as illegal.

The Bill widens Nigeria’s already harsh anti-gay laws, to criminalise any expression, public or private, of homosexuality. Attending a private gathering of gay people, or imparting HIV prevention information to a gay person, will also become a crime.

Outrageously this Bill is backed by the Anglican Church in Nigeria and by its notoriously homophobic Archbishop, Peter Akinola. If there is to be a rift in the Anglican Communion worldwide, then I think it is high time that the Anglican Church in the UK and in the United States started to face up to this sinister development and sever all ties with it Nigerian sister organisation. The Archbishop of Canterbury should reassess fundamentally where he is leading his Church and proclaim that he will not maintain relations with parts of the Anglican Communion which support such pernicious policies.

Similarly it is high time that the UK takes a stand and tables a motion to suspend Nigeria from membership of the Commonwealth at the next CHOGM if it passes this Bill into law; if fellow Commonwealth members are unwilling to agree to the suspension of Nigeria in these circumstances it is my view that the UK must consider seriously whether its own continuing membership of that organisation is tenable.

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