BY HENRY UMORU & INALEGWU SHAIBU
ABUJA-A bill prohibiting marriage of same sex Tuesday scaled the second reading at the Senate, just as senators described the act as ungodly, morally and religiously unacceptable.
Before the bill was referred to committees on judiciary, human rights, legal matters, that of health and culture and tourism, it however, enjoyed an overwhelming support of other senators who described the practice as criminal and against the tenets of nature.
The outcome of the Senate followed a bill that was sponsored by Senator Domingo Alaba Obende, Edo North senatorial district and titled, ‘’A bill for an act to prohibit marriage between persons of same sex, solemnisation of same and for other matters related therewith. “
The bill, which passed first reading in July, was co-sponsored by 25 senators, including Senators Ehigie Uzamere, Adegbenga Sefiu Kaka, Borrofice Robert; Pius Ewherido; Yusuf Musa Nagogo; Mohammed Magoro; Emmanuel Paulker; George ekibo; Eyinnaya Abaribe; Helen Esuene and Babafemi Ojudu, amongst others.
Others are Senators Oluremi Tinubu, Olugbenga Ashafa; Obadara Olugbenda; Joshua Dariye; Saleh Mohammed Sani; Hope Uzodinma; Ayogu Eze; Smart Adeyemi; Ahmad Lawan; Igwe Paulinus Nwagu; Mohammed Goje; Barnabas Gemade and Boluwaji Kunlere.
Senator Obende, who argued that though some countries of the world had already legitimized same sex marriage, said there was an urgent need for Nigeria to act fast to avoid a situation where same creeps into the country.
‘’Opening the legal door to same sex marriage in Nigeria will be morally and ideologically unsound when other traditionally shunned intuitions as incest remain illegal. The problem with sex marriage is not the slippery slope; the primary assertion is that, just as most Nigerians should maintain that incest is socially unacceptable practise, so too should they disallow same sex marriage,” he said.
According to Obende, if marriage is to have a religious foundation, the interpretation of religious texts and traditions will serve as key.
He also stressed that if such a practice was not curtailed, it would lead to the destruction of the marriage institution and family values as well as increase cases of divorce, promote the activities of gay and lesbians and distort school curriculum.
He said: “With the legalization of same sex marriage, every school in Nigeria would be required to teach that this perversion is the moral equivalent of traditional marriage between a man and a woman. Textbooks would have to depict man/man and woman/woman relationship and stories written for children as young as kindergarten would have to give equal space to homosexuals.
“The younger generations and those yet unborn would be deprived of the good news as already occurred in some countries of the world. Instead of providing for father and mother, the advent of same sex marriage will create millions of motherless and fatherless children and this is morally wrong.”
Also yesterday, five bills were presented to the Senate and all passed the first reading. They were the University of Uyo Establishment Bill by Senator Ita Enang, Income Tax Holiday Bill in the name of Senator Olugbenga B. Ashafa, National Student Financial Aid Scheme Bill by Senator Ehigie E. Uzamere, Erosion Control and Prevention Commission Bill in the name of Senator Hope Uzodinma as well as Company Income Tax Act 2004 (Amendment ) Bill by Senator Andy Uba.
Also yesterday, Senate President David Mark read a letter from President Goodluck Jonathan requesting for the confirmation of 20 board members of the National Population Commission, NPC.
Another letter was read by Senate President Mark for the reconstitution of the governing board of FERMA. It shall consist of a chairman and six members appointed by the President subject to the confirmation of the Senate.
Also yesterday, Senate President Mark reconstituted the Senate ad-hoc Committee on the immortalisation of late senators, with Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba as Chairman.
Contributing to Senator Obende’s bill for an Act to prohibit marriage between persons of same sex, Senator Victor Lar, Plateau South East while supporting it, stressed that the act from the religious point of view was ungoldly and satanic, adding that ‘’it is an attempt by the forces of darkness to desecrate the institution of marriage ordained by God. It contravenes the law for procreation and multiplication. I would want it prohibited.
‘’The essence of marriage is for procreation and if we allow same sex marriage recognised and legalised, we are not interested in future children. Any person, who believes in the existence of Supreme Being would prohibit this same sex marriage and passed the bill.
Senators, who also spoke in favour of the bill were Senators George Thompson Sekibi, PDP, River East, Benedict Ayade, Cross River North; Robert Boroffice, LP, Ondo North; Adegbenga Sefiu Kaka, ACN, Ogun West; Emmanuel Bwacha, PDP, Taraba South; Oluremi Tinubu, Lagos Central, among others.
But speaking against the bill, Senator Ita Enang, PDP, Akwa Ibom North East who argued that the offence was already criminalised on the criminal code. Section 214 of the Criminal Code Act, cap C 238 2004. Enang said that if the Senate discovers anything new about the code, it should be brought as an amendment, just as he Prayed thus, ‘’that this Bill seeks to make an offence of what is already an offence and it should not go”, adding, ‘’If there is any aspect that is not covered by the existing law, if the senate is disposed to pass it to second reading, what is not in the criminal code alone should be.”