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Nigerian Law, If Signed, Would Make Involvement in a Same-Sex Marriage Punishable with Prison Time

Nigeria FlagPost submitted by David McCabe, HRC Digital Media Intern

The Nigerian House of Representatives approved a bill on Thursday that, if signed into law by the country's president, would make involvement in same-sex marriages, gay rights advocacy, and a "public show" of affection punishable with a prison term, the Associated Press reports. The bill passed the Senate in late 2011 and has been moving through the House since then.

The law would also ban same-sex marriages in churches and mosques. Any gay or lesbian couple who marry could be made to serve a prison term of up to 14 years, while their witnesses, if convicted in criminal court, could serve up to 10 years in prison. It would also become illegal to be involved with gay rights groups or engage in any "public show" of affection.

Though advocates have only just learned of the bill's passage, one expressed concern with the rumored range of activities the bill covers. “If that’s the scope, there will be serious issues,” Chidi Odinkalu, who chairs Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission, told the AP.

President Goodluck Jonathan has not yet indicated whether he would sign or veto the bill.

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