The bill recently passed by the Nigerian Senate is said to have enjoyed a widespread support across Nigeria. The bill, which sanctions imprisonment for persons who contract, aid or abet gay marriage is said to be in line with our(Nigerian) ‘values and culture’. This bill, which legitimizes hatred, discrimination and persecution of persons on the basis on sexual orientation and gender identity is purported to be in accordance with the moral norms of Christianity and Islam, or at least the norms of Christianity and Islam as professed, practiced and understood by Nigerians or better, most Nigerians.
The senate has been commended by secular and religious leaders in the country for standing their ground against what some have said to be opposed to our( Nigerian)nature. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, the Anglican Communion, and other religious organisations have issued statements endorsing the anti -gay marriage bill.
And in reply to this move, I say ‘Count me out’.
Yes count me out of those Nigerians whom opinions leaders claim to be in support of this homophobic bill, and on whose behalf they supposedly conceived, drafted and sponsored this outrageous piece of legislation.
For me, this anti-gay marriage bill is a legislative move that will ever dwell infamy. Generations of Nigerians yet unborn will scorn, despise and dishonor those who conceived, sponsored and supported this bill of hatred and intolerance.
Yes, count me out this inane attempt to terrorize and hunt down innocent citizens based on their sexuality. Count me out those who endorse this bill that resonates with moral hypocrisy and double standard. When did our Nigerian lawmakers become moral police, dictators and directors?
Personally, I can only equate this anti-gay marriage bill to a moral version of the Boko Haram agenda in Nigeria. It is a product of fanatical minds. Yes, count me out this insensitive initiative to outlaw human rights at a time most people across the world are striving to embrace and enthrone the rights of ‘man’, and make them part of the culture, tradition and national ethos. Count me out of those with a warped sense of our values and culture, those with retrogressive and backward looking idea of what is ‘African’ and what is not? Count me out of those Nigerians who will not make human rights, gender equity and justice part of their values and culture.
Law making should be human rights compliant. Shouldn’t it? Laws should be made to protect human rights, not to deny or to violate them. This anti-gay marriage bill is anti-human rights. And as the American Secretary of State Hilary Clinton recently said in Geneva, Gay rights are human rights. Count me out of those who think otherwise.
So I oppose this legislative move to deny this self evident truth by the Nigerian Senate and their allies.
To be a gay is not a crime. To marry a gay is not a crime. To engage in same sexual relationship is not a crime. Count me out of those who think it is. Count me out of those who think that gay relationship should be criminalized. Yes as Clinton pointed out, ‘Being a gay is not a Western invention, it is a human reality’. Count me out of those who think it is not. Count me out of those who cannot acknowledge this reality. Count me out of those who continue to spread and celebrate the propaganda and falsehood that gay rights are unAfrican.
Gay rights are fully African. Being a gay is an African reality.
So count me out this legislative process to make a law in Nigeria in this 21st century that is opposed to human rights, natural and social justice, and good conscience.
Yes count me out this move to make prejudice and oppression of sexual minorities a state policy.