The House of Representatives in Nigeria has voted unanimously in favour of a new legislation banning same-sex marriage.
The bill “prohibits marriage between persons of same gender, solemnisation of same and other matters related therewith.”
Representatives said that both Islam and Christianity, the prominent religions in Nigeria, condemn homosexual acts.
The bill had been discussed at public hearings and was backed by citizens, one politician claimed.
Another, Igo Aguma, said:
“It is against my faith to have same-sex marriage.
“It is against our penal code to even engage in activities that are as quarrelsome as this between man and man, as well as women and women.
“It is time for us at this point in time to think back and look at the scourge of HIV/AIDS.
“The greatest means of transmitting this disease is through the act of sodomy. Young children are already victims of been lured into this cruel and unimaginable act. It is an act of perversion.”
Leo Igwe, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Humanist Movement, said:
“This vote is a step backward for Nigeria’s democracy and a breach of the nation’s human rights obligations.
“Banning gay marriage will increase homophobia and attacks on lesbian and gay people. it will undermine Nigeria’s efforts to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS, especially among gays.
“At a time when many civilised nations are taking measures to abolish all forms of discrimination on the basis of gender and sexual orientation, we humanists call on President Musa Yar’dua not to sign this oppressive and retrogressive bill into law.”
Nigerian law states that anyone who has “carnal knowledge of any person against order of nature or permits a male to have carnal knowledge of him” can be imprisoned for 14 years.
In 2007 the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill was debated in the Nigerian Parliament but did not proceed.
It called for imprisonment for any person who “goes through the ceremony of marriage with a person of the same sex”, anyone who helps them and any gay clubs or organisations.