The Bill for an Act to Prohibit Marriage Between Persons of Same Sex, Solemnization of Same and for Other Matters Related Therewith, sponsored by Senator Domingo Obende, has gone through the second reading and has been referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Human Rights for further legislative work.
The NHM’s executive director, Leo Igwe, said: “We in the Nigerian Humanist Movement are deeply concerned by yet another move by the Nigerian Parliament to criminalise same-sex marriage in the country. This bill is a big distraction and a waste of Nigeria's limited legislative resources.
“It will worsen Nigeria's human rights records and undermine the efforts by Nigerians to foster true democracy, national dialogue and tolerant pluralism. Similar bills considered by the Parliament in 2006 and 2008, were never passed into law. Nigerian Humanists are wondering why the current members of the parliament deemed it necessary to bring up this bill again at a time the nation is facing clear and urgent threats and challenges of insecurity, crime and conflict, religious fundamentalism and terrorism, poverty and social unrest.
“It is difficult to comprehend why the Nigerian Parliament wants to set the country on a path against the global trend of abolishing homophobia and ending all forms of discrimination against persons on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Nigerian Humanists hereby urge the lawmakers to shelve this bill and instead to consider decriminalising homosexuality and taking other legislative measures to promote, protect, uphold and enforce the full human rights of all persons whatever their race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, religion or belief.”
Commenting on this, the PTT’s secretary, George Broadhead, said: “We warmly welcome this reaction and the support the NHM has given to LGBT rights over many years. Since its founding in 1996, the NHM has taken part in campaigns against antipersonnel landmines, child labour, female genital mutilation, ritual killing, witchcraft, caste discrimination, sharia law and homophobia.
“Whilst the various religious institutions are in the main overtly hostile to LGBT relationships and their rights, the Humanist movement worldwide can be relied upon to champion them.”