We’ve been discussing why the leadership of Truro and the Falls Church, two Episcopal parishes across the river from us in northern Virginia seem unwilling to acknowledge that adding two plus two gives you four. They and a handful of anonymous blog posters don’t want to admit that the Church these parishes are rushing to join favors restrictions on freedom of religion and the institutionalization of anti-gay bigotry.
The bill which contains these restrictions is beneath the continue reading button. It has provoked an international outcry which the leaders of the two congregations have studiously ignored. Sixty members of the European Parliament have signed a letter decrying the provisions in the bill. Sixteen human rights organizations have written to the Nigerian government. Internal opposition is organizing within Nigeria.
Bishop Martyn Minns, the clerical leader of Truro, distanced himself from this legislation back in February when he was a priest in the Episcopal Church, but he hasn’t done so since becoming a bishop in the Church of Nigeria. Minns did, however offer an Orwellian clarification of Archbishop Peter J. Akninola of Nigeria’s feelings toward homosexuals on the Truro Web site. Akinola apparently believes that gay people should be treated with “respect.”
If you look here you will see the Nigerian Church showering respect on Davis Mac-Illaya, a gay Nigerian who is engaged in what may soon be the crime of organizing other gay Nigerians.
The unwillingness of the churches’ leadership (whose feud with Bishop Peter Lee of Virginia is heating up) to disassociate themselves from this bill, and from Archbishop Akinola’s support of the bill, raises an interesting question about their intentions toward their fellow Americans. As representatives of the Nigerian church in the United States, will they favor depriving the citizens of this country of their rights to speech, assembly and religion? Or is there some moral justification for confining the deprevation to citizens of Nigeria?
AN ACT TO MAKE PROVISIONS FOR THE PROHIBITION OF SEXUAL
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PERSONS OF THE SAME SEX, CELEBRATION
OF MARRIAGE BY THEM AND FOR OTHER MATTERS CONNECTED
BE IT ENACTED by the National Assembly of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria as follows-
1. Short Title
This Act may be cited as Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act
In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires-
“Marriage” means a legally binding union between a man and a
woman be it performed under the authority of the State, Islamic
Law or Customary Law;
“Minister” means the Minister responsible for Internal Affairs”
“Same Sex Marriage” means the coming together of two persons of
the same gender or sex in a civil union, marriage, domestic
partnership or other form of same sex relationship for the
purposes of cohabitation as husband and wife.
3. Validity and Recognition of Marriage.
For the avoidance of doubt only marriage entered into between a
man and a woman under the marriage Act or under the Islamic and
Customary Laws are valid and recognized in Nigeria.
4. Prohibition of Same Sex Marriage, etc.
(1) Marriage between persons of the same sex and adoption of
children by them in or out of a same sex marriage or
relationship is prohibited in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
(2) Any marriage entered into by persons of same sex pursuant
to a license issued by another state, country, foreign
jurisdiction or otherwise shall be void in the Federal
Republic of Nigeria,
(3) Marriages between persons of the same sex are invalid and
shall not be recognized as entitled to the benefits of a valid
(4) Any contractual or other rights granted to persons involved
in same sex marriage or accruing to such persons by virtue
of a license shall be unenforceable in any Court of law in
(5) The Courts in Nigeria shall have no jurisdiction to grant a
divorce, separation and maintenance orders with regard to
such same sex marriage, consider or rule on any of their
rights arising from or in connection with such marriage.
5. Non-Recognition of Same Sex Marriage
(1) Marriage between persons of same sex entered into in any
jurisdiction whether within or outside Nigeria, any other
state or country or otherwise or any other location or
relationships between persons of the same sex which are
treated as marriage in any jurisdiction, whether within or
out side Nigeria are not recognized in Nigeria.
(2) All arms of government and agencies in the Federal
Republic of Nigeria shall not give effect to any public act,
record or judicial proceeding within or outside Nigeria,
with regard to same sex marriage or relationship or a
claim arising from such marriage or relationship.
6. Prohibition of celebration of same sex marriage in a place of
(1) Same sex marriage shall not be celebrated in any place
of worship by any recognized cleric of a Mosque,
Church, denomination or body to which such place of
(2) No marriage license shall be issued to parties of the
same sex in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
7. Prohibition of Registration of Gay Clubs and Societies and
Publicity of same sex sexual relationship.
(1) Registration of Gay Clubs, Societies and organizations by
whatever name they are called in institutions from Secondary
to the tertiary level or other institutions in particular and, in
Nigeria generally, by government agencies is hereby
(2) Publicity, procession and public show of same sex
amorous relationship through the electronic or print media
physically, directly, indirectly or otherwise are prohibited in
(3) Any person who is involved in the registration of gay
clubs, societies and organizations, sustenance, procession or
meetings, publicity and public show of same sex amorous
relationship directly or indirectly in public and in private is
guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a term of 5
8. Offences and Penalties.
(1) Any person goes through the ceremony of marriage
with a person of the same sex is guilty of an offence and
liable on conviction to a term of 5 years imprisonment.
(2) Any person performs, witnesses, aids or abets the
ceremony of same sex marriage is guilty of an offence
and liable on conviction to a term of 5 years
The High Court in the States and the Federal Capital Territory shall
have jurisdiction to entertain all matters, causes and proceedings
arising from same sex marriages and relationships.
This Act shall prohibit in the Federal Republic of Nigeria the
relationship between persons of the same sex, celebration of
marriage by them and other matters connected therewith.