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Amnesty International Attacks Nigeria Ban on Homosexual “Marriage”

Kathleen Gilbert,

ABUJA, January 28, 2009 ( – After Nigeria’s House of Representatives approved a bill banning same-sex "marriage" earlier this month, Amnesty International has joined the chorus of international homosexualist groups putting pressure on the Nigerian government to discard the legislation.

The human rights advocacy group issued a joint statement with the Nigerian Bar Association Human Rights Institute, the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch, and unspecified Nigerian nongovernmental organizations, urging Nigeria’s National Assembly to strike down the Same Gender Marriage (Prohibition) Bill 2008.

"It is simply unacceptable to single out one group of people to be deprived of the rights we all enjoy," said Aster Van Kregten, Amnesty International’s Nigeria researcher. “Legalising discrimination is reprehensible in itself and can only promote acts of hatred.”

The bill would outlaw “the coming together of persons of the same sex with the purpose of living together as husband and wife or for other purposes of same sexual relationship," carrying a penalty of up to three years in jail. Anyone who "witnesses, abets and aids the solemnization of a same gender marriage" will also be punished with up to five years’ imprisonment.

Last week, the European Union’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transsexual Intergroup called for all foreign aid to Nigeria to be cut because of the bill.

“The only result this law is going to achieve is a raising hatred against gay, lesbian and transgender citizens of Nigeria,” said Michael Cashman, Labour MEP and President of the Intergroup.

Under current Nigeria law, heterosexual activity is already illegal, carrying a maximum sentence of fourteen years’ imprisonment. A bill similar to the current legislation was advanced in 2006 but was not passed before a change in government the next year.

Amnesty International, renowned for tracking down human rights offenses around the world, officially departed from the pro-life scene in 2007 when it began openly advocating for abortion "rights" as a priority over the rights of unborn children.