New law and old prejudices threaten Nigeria’s gay community

The secular press is beginning to wake up to the dangers of repressive legislation being supported by the Anglican Church of Nigeria, and, it would seem, its supporters at Truro and the Falls Church. Here is the lead of the Associated Press story in a recent issue of the International Herald Tribune:

LAGOS, Nigeria: In the Muslim north of Nigeria, Bisi Alimi could be stoned to death for having gay sex. In the south, he could face three years in prison. Now, a proposed law would make it illegal just to share a meal at a cafe with gay friends.

The proposal under debate in Nigeria’s House of Representatives would outlaw not just gay marriages, but any form of association between gay people, social or otherwise, and publication of any materials deemed to promote a “same-sex amorous relationship.”

Anyone attending a meeting between gay people, even two friends in a private house, could receive a sentence of five years under the act. Engaging in homosexual acts is already illegal in Nigeria, with those convicted facing jail terms in the south and execution in the north.

Few in Nigeria’s deeply closeted gay community are publicly opposing the bill and it is widely expected to pass.

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