Nigeria Makes ‘Gay Associations’ Punishable By Years In Prison
As the U.S. is deeply embroiled in the fight over whether same-sex marriage should be legal, gays in Nigeria are trying to avoid prison for being who they are. A new law passed in the conservative African country, referred to as the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, calls for jail sentences of up to 10 years if gay people hold a group meeting together, operate or attend a gay club, or attend a gay organization. Anyone convicted of entering into a same-sex marriage also faces 14 years in prison.
Secretary of State John Kerry said the White House was “deeply concerned” over the new law which “dangerously restricts freedom of assembly, association, and expression for all Nigerians.” Gay sex has long been illegal in the country, but the new terms are far more specific and restrictive than before.
However, the new laws will truly only hinder poor gay people living in Nigeria. Many wealthy gays have already left Nigeria and moved elsewhere due to the restrictions on homosexuality. Some of them choose to say and simply fly elsewhere to have sex.
The most extreme punishments for homosexuality in Africa are found in Uganda, which punishes some gay sex acts with life in prison. The bill was passed last month by Uganda’s parliament.