Yesterday the Nigerian Senate passed a bill to prohibit same-sex marriage, as well as gay advocacy groups and public displays of same-sex affection. The bill imposes a 14 year sentence for those who are convicted of homosexuality and 10 year sentences for anyone who assists same-sex couples in marrying. The Nigerian House of Representatives will now vote on the bill and if passed, it will go to President Goodluck Jonathan to sign.
Erwin van der Borght, director of Amnesty International’s Africa program, stated, “The bill will expand Nigeria’s already draconian punishments for consensual same-sex conduct and set a precedent that would threaten all Nigerians’ rights to privacy, equality, free expression, association, and to be free from discrimination.”
Approximately a month before the bill passed the Senate, British Prime Minister David Cameron issued a threat to prevent aid from going to nations that violate the rights of homosexuals. Cameron remarked in a statement, “British aid should have more strings attached in terms of ‘do you persecute people for their faith or their Christianity or do you persecute people for their sexuality.’ We don’t think that’s acceptable…we’re prepared to put some money behind what we believe.”
Homosexuality is illegal in most African countries with the exception of South Africa, which recognizes gay marriage, but even there, anti-gay practices such as “corrective rapes” of lesbians, are commonplace.