Pro-life and pro-family supporters in Nigeria are rallying around a bill currently being considered in the Nigerian Senate that would prohibit same-sex “marriage” in Africa’s most populous country amid threats from the United Kingdom to cut aid if countries do not protect homosexual “rights.”
“Human Life International Nigeria is joining forces with other pro-life organizations and well-meaning Nigerians in mobilizing support for the defense of this bill,” said Chizoba Nnagboh, Human Life International (HLI) country director in Nigeria. “Anti-life organizations, masquerading as human rights organizations, are not resting on their oars, but are also seriously mobilizing to stop the bill.”
A leading sponsor of the bill, Senator Domingo Obende, recently recognized that the pressure of a global debate over same-sex marriage has led some countries to legitimize the practice, while others were on the verge of doing so. He stressed that Nigeria needed to act very fast for this trend not to find its way into the country. Mr. Nnagboh reported that Sen. Obende urged the Senate to prohibit same-sex marriage as it “will lead to the breakdown of the society.”
A version of the bill appeared before the Nigerian legislature in 2006, but never went to a vote. The bill was re-introduced in 2008, and went through two readings, but also never came up for a vote.
Organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission are pressuring Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to veto the bill should it pass the legislature. British Prime Minister David Cameron recently threatened to cut aid to African countries like Nigeria which seek to protect the sanctity of marriage in the name of “human rights.”
Prime Minister Cameron said that those receiving aid from the United Kingdom should “adhere to proper human rights.” Ending bans that “discriminate” against homosexuality was one recommendation of an internal report from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Australia.
Last week, HLI Nigeria sent a letter in support of the bill to outlaw same-sex “marriage” to the Nigerian Senate ahead of a public hearing on the bill on October 31, 2011.
“HLI Nigeria wishes to state that while it respects all people as they are, it does not have to respect such a wholesale assault on everything that is sacred to us and good for our society,” the letter stated.
“Same-sex ‘marriage’ is an offense to our religious and cultural sensibilities,” and “is an insult to the institution of marriage and family,” the letter, signed by Mr. Nnagboh, also said.
Nigerian Senate President David Mark voiced support for the bill at the public hearing.
“My faith as Christian abhors it. It is incomprehensible to contemplate same sex marriage. I cannot understand it. I cannot be a party to it,” the Senator said, warning against what he called “the importation of a foreign culture.”
There is a “strong determination among Nigerians to continue to preserve the culture of life despite external influences working to undermine it,” said Mr. Nnagboh. “Nigerians are very passionate about preserving the sanctity of marriage and the traditional family, and this bill has come to ensure that same-sex marriage, which is not only a taboo in Nigerian culture, but also offensive to the religious sensibilities of Nigerians, does not take root in Nigeria.”