Lawmakers in Nigeria on Thursday
approved a bill which bans gay marriage and outlaws active support of
The bill was approved by a voice vote
in Nigeria's House of Representatives following passage in the Senate
two years earlier, the AP reported. It now appears headed to the
desk of President Goodluck Jonathan for his signature. It was
uncertain whether Jonathan would sign the bill into law.
However, if differences exist between
versions passed by the House and Senate, then a joint committee of
lawmakers must first reconcile those differences before sending the
proposed legislation to the president.
During debate on the Senate floor, some
lawmakers called for even harsher penalties for gay people.
“Such elements in society should be
killed,” Senator Baba Dati said.
The bill's champion in the Senate,
Senator Domingo Obende, has previously argued that the law was
necessary to protect children.
“[T]he advent of same-sex marriage
will create millions of motherless and fatherless children and this
is morally wrong,” Obende said.
The measure also outlaws gay rights
supporters from organizing. A person found guilty of forming a group
to lobby for or support LGBT rights faces up to 14 years in prison.
Another provision of the bill criminalizes the “public show of
same-sex amorous relationships directly or indirectly.” Offenders
face up to 10 years behind bars.
Nigeria, African's most populous nation
with more than 160 million citizens, has outlawed gay sex since
colonial rule by the British.