Nigerian Archbishop may have change of heart about LGBT people

Yesterday the Vatican has released a report on the process of the Extraordinary Synod on Marriage and Family where it was acknowledged that gay partnerships had merit. A major shift in the way that the church describes LGBT people and their relationships has already changed one dogmatic view.

Speaking at a press briefing with the Tablet Nigerian Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama, once an advocate of punitive Nigerian gay laws, now says that the Nigerian Catholic Church will defend every person who is being attacked, punished or imprisoned for being who they are. The Archbishop has claimed that his previous support for the punitive gay legislation was a "gross misinterpretation" by the media. Kaigama has expressed critique of the government for pursuing such laws and said he will try to convince the government to stop punishing people for their orientation. The Catholic Church, he now says, only supported the part of the law that lays out that marriage is between a man and a woman. As to prove his standpoint he advised Catholic families and communities to welcome gay couples.

LGBT people in Nigeria face unique and brutal legal as well as social challenges. Under secular criminal laws LGBT relationships are punished by 14 years in jail. However, in 12 Nigerian states implementing Muslim Shari'a law the maximum punishment is death by stoning. The country does not allow or recognize LGBT rights. Very few LGBT people are open about their orientation, and voices against LGBT community are laud and common.

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