The Law as a Proxy for Hate
Nigerian lawmakers are contemplating a new bill that would ban and criminalize same-sex marriage. While nations worldwide have passed, or are considering passing, similar bills, this proposed law is not your "run of the mill" anti-LGBT bill. It subjects LGBT individuals to a potential 3 year jail sentence for "entering into a same gender marriage contract" and it defines sex marriage as "gay people living together." As such, the pending Nigerian law is simply a proxy for criminalizing almost any domestic LGBT affiliating, regardless of whether it be of a sexual or interpersonal nature. In a country, where LGBT individuals already face immense discrimination and their very existence is deemed a "threat to society," such a law would be devastating. At the very least, persecuted LGBT people should be able to share space, find refuge in each other's similar lived experiences and, dare I say, engage in relationships.
Amidst the Nigerian lawmakers' deliberations, church leaders are fueling the debate by providing t-shirts to children saying "same sex marriage is un-natural and un-African," and "same sex marriage is an abomination," thus grooming the next generation with intolerance, narrow-mindedness and persecution. Church representatives purport that they “don't hate gay people," -- huh, sure sounds like hate to me. Using the law as a sword to criminalize individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity has no basis in love or acceptance, much less tolerance.
I reach out to my Nigerian brothers and sisters with hope that such an egregious and reckless law falls to the Congressional floor.