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Uganda, Nigeria gear up for anti-gay laws
Nigeria has this week joined Uganda in promising to push ahead with new anti-gay laws, with the Nigerian House of Representatives advancing a bill that would criminalise public displays of affection between same-sex people and ban gay marriage.
The Daily Nation reports that gay organisations would also be banned under the proposed laws, and that AIDS relief organisations are concerned that they too might fall into that category.
“It is alien to our society and culture and it must not be imported,” House majority leader Mulikat Adeola-Akande said about same-sex marriage during debate on the bill.
“Religion abhors it and our culture has no place for it.”
Nigeria’s Senate last year approved the bill, which would make same-sex marriages punishable by up to 14 years for a couple and 10 years for anyone assisting such unions. It would also mean a 10-year sentence for any person who “directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationships”.
On Monday, Ugandan Speaker Rebecca Kadaga (pictured) told The Associated Press that that country’s anti-gay bill (previously known as the ‘Kill the Gays’ bill) would be passed before the end of 2012, despite international criticism. Kadaga said Ugandans were “demanding it”.
Some Christian clerics at a meeting in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, last Friday asked the speaker to pass the law as “a Christmas gift”.
While homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda, the bill proposes tougher sentences, including a life sentence in certain circumstances.
It also prohibits the “promotion” of gay rights and calls for the punishment of anyone who “funds or sponsors homosexuality” or “abets homosexuality”.
The death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” – which was defined as when one of the participants is a minor, HIV-positive, disabled or a “serial offender” – was believed to have been dropped from the bill.
The speaker promised to consider the bill within two weeks.