Nigerian Lawmakers Move Ahead On Anti-Gay Bill …as bill passes second reading.

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Nigerian
lawmakers moved a step closer Tuesday to approving a bill that would harshly
crack down on gay rights, including banning same-sex marriage and public
displays of affection between homosexual couples.

The bill which has already been approved by the
Senate passed a second reading in the House of Representatives with an
unanimous vote and will now see a clause-by-clause review in the chamber at an
undetermined date.

“It is alien to our society and culture and it must
not be imported,” House majority leader Mulikat Adeola-Akande said during
debate, referring to same-sex marriage. “Religion abhors it and our culture has
no place for it,” she added.

House minority leader Femi Gbajabiamila said the
bill represents “convergence of both law and morality.” He said that same-sex
marriage “is both illegal and immoral.”
Nigeria’s senate in November 2011 approved the bill
that would make same-sex marriages punishable by up to 14 years for the couple
and 10 for anyone abetting such unions.
It also set out a 10-year sentence for “any person
who … directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous
relationships”.
Gay organisations would also be made illegal,
leading some to raise concerns over whether funding channeled through
non-governmental organisations in Nigeria for AIDS treatment would be put in
jeopardy.
A final House vote would come after the
clause-by-clause review. President Goodluck Jonathan must sign off on the bill
to give it final approval in Africa’s most populous nation and largest oil
producer.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has already
warned that his country will consider withholding aid from countries that do
not recognise gay rights. The United States has expressed concerns over the
Nigerian legislation.
Last year, US President Barack Obama 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.
it is unclear why lawmakers have made such a ban a
priority other than to gain popular support since gay marriage is not known to
be prevalent in Nigeria and homosexuals are already harshly discriminated
against.Nigeria is a highly religious society, with its 160 million people
roughly divided in half between Christians and Muslims, though as sigificant
number are also believed to follow traditional religions.

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