By Inalegwu Shaibu
ABUJA — THE Senate, yesterday, passed the Same Sex Marriage bill prohibiting all marriages between man and man and between woman and woman.
The bill sponsored by Senator Magnus Abe, PDP, Rivers, prescribes 14 years jail term for anybody convicted of contracting marriage between same sex.
It also prescribed 10 years for anybody convicted of aiding and abetting the contraction of same sex marriage in Nigeria and also nullifies certificate of same sex marriage contracted outside the shores of Nigeria. The new law also kicked against the operation of gay clubs in Nigeria as it provides for 10 years jail term without option of fine for anybody guilty of operating gay club within the country.
Senate President, David Mark, in his remark after the passage of the law stressed that the practice of same sex marriage violates Nigeria’s traditions and customs.
He said the Senate will not be cowed into passing laws that go against the belief of the country by western countries that threatened to stop aids to Nigeria on account of the Senate outlawing homosexuals and lesbianism in Nigeria.
Mark said: “If there is any country that wants to stop giving us aid because we want to pass the bill on same sex, that country can go ahead. We are a sovereign nation and we have the rights to decide for ourselves because no country can interfere in the way we run our country. Same sex marriage is against our own culture and tradition and against our beliefs.”
Section 3 of the bill reads: “Only marriage contracted between a man and a woman either under Islamic law, Customary law or Marriage Act is recognized as valid in Nigeria.”
Registration of gay clubs
Section 4 (1) which kicks against gay clubs reads: “The registration of gay clubs, societies and organizations; their sustenance, processions and meetings are hereby prohibited. (2) The public show of same sex amorous relationship directly or indirectly is hereby prohibited.”
Section 1 (2) and (3) reads: “A marriage contract or civil union entered into between persons of same sex is invalid and shall not be recognized as entitled to the benefits of a valid marriage. (3) A marriage contract or civil union entered into between persons of same sex by virtue of a certificate issued by a foreign country shall be void in Nigeria, and any benefits accruing there from by virtue of certificate shall not be enforced by any court in Nigeria.”
The law also banned solemnization of same sex marriage in churches and mosques in Nigeria. Section 2 (1) of the bill provides: “Marriage or civil union entered into between persons of same sex by virtue of a certificate issued by a foreign country shall be void in Nigeria and any benefits accruing there from by virtue of the certificate shall not be enforced.”
Section 5 (1)(2)(3) which stipulates the penalties reads: “Persons who entered into same sex marriage contract or civil union commit an offence and are each liable on conviction to a term of 10 years imprisonment.
“(2) Any person who registers, operate or participates in gay clubs, societies and organization or directly or indirectly make public show of same amorous relationship in Nigeria commits an offence and shall each be liable on conviction to a term of 10 years imprisonment.
“(3)Any person or group or persons that witness, abet and aids the solemnization of a same sex marriage or civil sustenance of gay clubs, societies, organization, process of meeting in Nigeria commits an offence and shall be liable to conviction to a term of 10 years imprisonment.”