In the face of growing pressure from the international community and human rights activists demanding the legalization of same sex marriage in Nigeria, President of the Senate, David Mark, has insisted that that the bill prohibiting same sex marriage is “irrevocable.”
The senate president said on Sunday in Abuja that in spite of the pressures from some quarters, the “law has come to stay.”
Same sex marriage will become a criminal offence in Nigeria and punishable by imprisonment of not less than 14 years if the bill is eventually signed into law.
The act was criminalised by a senate bill which got popular support from Nigerian lawmakers who said the bill will promote “decency” in the Nigerian society.
“We will not compromise on this,” the senate president said. “There are many good values we can copy from other societies but certainly not this one (same sex marriage).”
Mr. Mark, an influential Nigerian politician, said Nigeria has got to “prove to the rest of the world, who are advocates of this unnatural way that we Nigerians promote and respect sanity, morality and humanity.”
“Every individual is a product of the union of a man and woman!” he asserted.
Nigeria’s Senate in November 2011 approved the bill that would make same-sex marriage punishable by 14 years imprisonment for gay couples and 10 for anyone abetting such unions.
“Any person who … directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationships,” is also liable and punishable with a 10-year sentence.”
The bill outlaws gay organisations.
The bill has passed a second reading in the House of Representatives with a unanimous vote and will be forwarded to the president for approval after a clause-by-clause review and approval of the law by the Reps this year.
The bill will become law only after it is signed by President Goodluck Jonathan.
The formulation of the anti-gay rights law has pitched Nigeria against its pro-gay allies, with the United States and Britain condemning the law as an infringement on the rights of gays.
British Prime Minister, David Cameron, warned that the United Kingdom will consider withholding aids from countries that do not recognise gay rights.
U.S. President, Barack Obama, has also ordered all government agencies that play an active foreign policy role to take steps to encourage foreign nations to put a premium on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights.
The law is popularly supported by Nigerians and has been widely praised especially by religious leaders and adherents.