That Nigerian bill again

The Mad Priest points us to a BBC report on a recent debate in the Nigerian legislature:

Nigeria's House of Representatives has held a public hearing on a new bill seeking to outlaw gay relations. The bill, which could become law before April's elections, proposes a five-year sentence for anyone convicted of being openly gay or practising gay sex.

Critics say the bill is anti-freedom, but religious leaders say it will help "protect society's morals and values".

The committee conducting the public hearing say they have received over 100 petitions from rights groups asking that the proposed bill be withdrawn.

"The bill is going to seriously violate the rights of people. This bill is evil and should not be allowed to see that light of the day," says Alimi Ademola who heads Independent Project Nigeria, a gay rights organisation.

But the bill will prove popular in a country where homosexuality is taboo and elections are looming. Parliamentary insiders say the bill is likely to be passed by both chambers of the Nigerian National Assembly by the end of March.

The Christian Association of Nigeria (Can), the umbrella body for Nigerian Christians, called for speedy passage of the law, describing same sex unions as "barbaric and shameful".

For full background on the bill (text here) visit Political Spaghetti.

See also Bishop John Bryson Chane's op-ed on the bill, which ran in The Washington Post just under a year ago, and this chronicle of the Anglican right's efforts to prove that Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria is in no way morally compromised by supporting the legalization of human rights violations.

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