Contrary to the protestations of many world figures, Nigeria's president has signed the "Same Sex Prohibition Bill," providing sentences of 14 years in prison for same-sex couples. The law also enforces a 10-year sentence for anyone that participates in a marriage ceremony for a same-sex couple or offers public support for LGBT people.
The law was passed in May of 2013, and was quickly condemned by several world leaders, including the United Nations Commissioner on Human Rights. According to O-Blog-Dee-O-Blog-Da, the law may have been signed last week, but news about it has only leaked out now.
"Nigeria's new law is a vicious and cruel step backward for the international community. LGBT Nigerians, as well as their friends and family, now live with targets on their back simply for being who they are," said Omar Sharif, Jr. "World leaders who are pushing dangerous legislation like this, need to hear from fair and compassionate people from around the globe that unjust laws like this are an affront to human dignity."
Recently, much attention has been directed at Russia's anti-LGBT propaganda laws and the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. At the same time, Uganda's parliament has passed its own anti-LGBT laws, including life in prison sentences for LGBT people. Uganda's president has not yet signed the law. The effect of Nigeria's law may encourage him to do so now, especially if international outcry is not strong enough. Nigeria is Africa's most populous country, which could have a ripple effect throughout the region.
From Melanie Nathan of O-Blog-Dee-O-Blog-Da:
Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan has surreptitiously signed the so-called Same Sex Prohibition Bill into law. Reports are that Jonathan actually signed the Bill, better known as the "Jail-All-The-Gays" Bill, quietly last week. News of its signing has only now been leaked.
It seems that the Nigerian President was afraid of a huge international outcry prior to signing the Bill, yet how he could think it would never make the news defies logic. Now that the story is out, it is absolutely incumbent upon us here in the United States to do two things, firstly to vehemently protest Nigeria and this horrific law, including a call for boycotts and sanctions and secondly to stand by our LGBTI family in Nigeria by providing support for safe-housing and asylum in the West.
ALSO - Re Uganda: It is critical that we make a LOT of Noise NOW vs Nigeria so Museveni sees that the world will not be happy if he assents to the bill.