Nigeria to Outlaw Same-sex Marriage

The Nigerian government is taking the “pre-emptive step” of introducing a specific ban on same-sex marriages as Europe and the U.S. become increasingly pro-gay marriage.

|TOP|Nigeria’s Information Minister Frank Nweke told the BBC the government was taking the “pre-emptive step” because of developments elsewhere in the world.

"In most cultures in Nigeria, same-sex relationships, sodomy and the likes of that, is regarded as abominable,” said Nweke.

It is already illegal to engage in gay sex in Nigeria. Now under the new ban gay couples who join in a wedding ceremony, as well as anyone who officiates at one, will risk five years in jail.

Justice Minister Bayo Ojo also made clear that homosexuals would not be able to press for any specifically gay rights or recognition, reported AFP.

|QUOTE|The Anglican Church in Nigeria has taken a clear stance against same-sex marriage and the ordination of gay priests under the firm leadership of the outspoken Archbishop Peter Akinola.

"The Anglican Church in Nigeria has been in the forefront of condemning the attitude because the church sees it as an aberration, in other words, we see it as against the norm. We see it as an abomination," the Rev. Tunde Popoola, a spokesman for the Anglican Church of Nigeria, told Voice of America.

The President of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo has given his public support to the Church's position on homosexuality.

"Such a tendency is clearly un-Biblical, unnatural and definitely un-African,” the President told a conference of Nigerian bishops in October 2004.

South Africa became the first African country and fifth country in the world to permit same-sex marriage in December 2005, following the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium and Canada.

|AD|The decision was opposed not only by the vast majority of South Africa’s citizens, but also the rest of Africa where homosexuality is still largely unaccepted.

Christian groups expressed deep concern to the latest move by the court. South Africa's biggest Christian party – the African Christian Democratic Party – sternly objected the decision. It warned of the disintegration and deterioration that may be resulted when "a society strays from the sexual ethic of marriage," as previous civilisations has showed, according to Reuters.

In addition, Steven Swart, spokesman for the African Christian Democratic Party declared that "we as Christian Democrats believe we should treat all people with compassion, but there are certain guidelines that we stand by: Marriage is a union between a man and woman."

Primate of the Anglican Church of the Province of Southern Africa Njonggonkulu Ndungane said: "The church valued diversity as expressed in the court ruling but would not change its stance against gay marriage," Ndungane said in a statement after the Constitutional Court’s ruling, according to Reuters.

"We have repeatedly affirmed that we do not regard partnership between two persons of the same sex as a marriage in the eyes of God."