US slams Nigeria for same-sex marriage ban

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WASHINGTON – The United States on Monday criticized Nigeria for approving a law that punishes same-sex marriage with prison, saying the move would curtail basic human rights.

Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States was “deeply concerned” by Nigeria’s new law which “dangerously restricts freedom of assembly, association and expression for all Nigerians.”

Kerry said the act “is inconsistent with Nigeria’s international legal obligations and undermines the democratic reforms and human rights protections enshrined in its 1999 constitution.”

“People everywhere deserve to live in freedom and equality. No one should face violence or discrimination for who they are or who they love,” Kerry said in a statement.

Under the new law, anyone in a same-sex marriage or union would face up to 14 years in prison, with such partnerships reached overseas considered void in Nigeria.

*Jonathan and Obama

File: Jonathan and Obama

President Goodluck Jonathan signed the law because he considered it consistent with most Nigerians’ views toward homosexuality, his spokesman, Reuben Abati, told AFP.

The United States has generally warm relations with Nigeria but President Barack Obama’s administration has increasingly put a priority on fighting for gay rights overseas.

In Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni has said that he will not rush into signing a law under which gays would be jailed after criticism from Obama, Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu and other global figures.(AFP)

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