Richard Branson is speaking out against a proposed bill in Nigeria that would criminalize gay marriage in Africa's most populous nation.

The proposed legislation prescribes a fourteen year jail term for a person who enters the contract of marriage with a member of the same sex. A person – or group of persons – who witnesses, abets and aids the solemnization of a gay marriage may receive up to ten years imprisonment or a fine of 5,000 naira, about $32 in a country where the average daily income is $3.

The Nigerian Senate overwhelmingly approved the bill last week, and some lawmakers called for even harsher penalties for being gay: “Such elements in society should be killed,” Senator Baba Dati said.

The 61-year-old Branson, best known for his Virgin Group of more than 400 companies, including Virgin Atlantic Airways and Virgin Records, described the bill as “sad, repressive and cruel” in a post at his blog.

“Too sad to comprehend that Nigeria are passing a law in this day and age to put gay people in prison just for being gay,” the British tycoon – said to be the 4th richest person in the UK – wrote.

“Like everyone else in society, gay people have an enormous amount to offer and Nigeria should embrace them not prosecute them,” he added.