Thursday, February 22, 2007

Passage Imminent I

I haven't posted on the Nigerian legislation much lately due to pressing professional matters. I still won't be able to blog like I had been early on, but I'll introduce a series of posts covering news of the Nigerian Anti-Gay bill that's facing imminent passage by Nigeria's populist legislature prior to the upcoming Presidential elections:

This is the first of many posts. These are aimed at the conservative Anglicans in the US who are not aware (or avoid being aware) of what their allies in the Church of Nigeria (Anglican) have advocated. I am not trying to convince anyone here that gay marriage is a good idea, or that Nigeria should make it part of their civil code. Rather, I wish to make as many people as possible aware of this legislation's gross violations of the most basic of civil rights (in ways that have nothing to do with whether Nigeria should recognize civil relationships between gay people), and also that the legislation carries the strong strong endorsement of Archbishop Peter J. Akinola, the head of the Church of Nigeria.

I find all of the claims and reports made in the links to be entirely credible (some news sources stretch the truth -- I have not included them).

First, check on the IGLHRC's documentation of the practical impacts of the legislation on the lives of gay and lesbian Nigerians, Voices from Nigeria (pdf), November, 2006. Quote (from Davis MacIyalla):
In October 2005, after my organization’s first publication criticizing an archbishop of the church for his stance on homosexuality, eight of our members were apprehended by police while we were on our way back from a meeting. We were locked in a police station without food and water for three days. Eventually we were released. I am sure that we were apprehended because of my organization’s publication.
Read the whole thing.

Second, this article from Znet, on the "World's Worst Anti-Gay Law," February 22. Quote:
Even mere socializing by two or more gay people, like having dinner together, is likely to be interpreted as illegal.

Gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals would be targeted not only for specific acts but also for simply existing under this proposed law, and even heterosexual people who "promote" the lifestyle of homosexuals, for example by selling them a house, would be criminalized.
Third, from the Gay City News, on "The Nightmare of Being Gay in Nigeria," February 19. Quote:
Public hearings on the bill were held last week by a committee of Nigeria’s National Assembly and it could be voted into law as early as next month.

With elections for the Presidency, Senate and House of Representatives in April, gay rights activists fear that politicians will put populism above human rights.

At the House committee hearing it emerged that over 100 petitions had been received objecting to the proposed new law, which would be one of the most draconian ever considered anywhere in the world.
More to come.

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