The latest news on the legislation, from the press release [my emphasis]:
The legislation was first introduced in January 2006 by Nigeria’s minister of justice, Bayo Ojo. It lay dormant for months in the National Assembly, as nationwide elections – scheduled for April 2007 – drew near. On February 12, 2007, however, a public hearing was called in the House of Representatives Women’s Affairs Committee with only two days’ notice. A coalition of Nigerian human rights organizations opposed to the bill was initially told it could not address the hearing, as it was by invitation only. Although the groups were later allowed to speak, the bill has apparently moved forward rapidly in both Nigeria’s House and Senate without further public debate. It is reportedly poised for a third reading in the Senate on March 1, after which it could become law.In other words, still not law, but it's getting closer every day.
Here's a bit of history to add to Scott Long's account (in the HRW press release). Archbishop Akinola (Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion) pushed hard for this legislation. Twice he publicly and explicitly endorsed the legislation. The legislation was approved by the President's Executive Council a few weeks after the embarrassing (for Akinola) appearance of Changing Attitude Nigeria (a gay and lesbian Anglican organization) and its extensive coverage by the press, even by the New York Times. Since the legislation would ban Changing Attitude from operating in Nigeria, one wonders not only about the timing, but also about the rationalizations that Akinola has put forward to his American supporters that he does not endorse jailing gay people.
For God's sake, where are the conservative Anglicans? Why don't they see this for the public relations disaster that it is?
The "Christian Leaders" letter to Nigerian politicians was signed only by liberal Anglicans, but of all the members of the Anglican Communion, they are the least likely to sway the Nigerian legislature. Akinola's conservative supporters -- by failing to add their voices to the voices of their liberal co-religionists -- are betraying themselves, their followers, and all of us, but most of all the gay and lesbian Nigerians who will endure the worst of it. If conservative Anglicans (and Archbishop Rowan Williams) fail to condemn this sub-human bit of populist nonsense and if they fail to condemn Akinola's endorsement, they will bear the shame of it to their graves.
This could have been stopped a long time ago. Instead, conservative Anglicans saw it as just another cog in their battle with the liberal Episcopal Church.
Remember, it's not too late to do something about this. See here for whom to contact to speak your mind (especially if you're a conservative Anglican -- you, most of all).