Nigeria have passed the ‘Jail All The Gays’ law, punishing not only gay sex but gay people, today (30 May).
It bans same-sex marriage, outlaws anyone from forming organizations supporting gay rights, and sets up prison terms of up to 14 years.
Approved by Nigeria’s House of Representatives in a voice vote, the bill will be sent to President Goodluck Jonathan for him to sign into law.
Under the bill the Senate passed in November 2011, openly gay people would be imprisoned whether or not they have sex.
Anybody who knows somebody who is gay will have to tell the authorities or they could go to jail for five years.
Any same-sex couple who got married would be punished by up to 14 years prison and 10 for anyone else involved in the ceremony. Even wedding guests could be jailed.
And ‘any person who directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationships’ would also get a 10 year sentence.
Gay Star News could not immediately obtain a copy of the version passed by the House of Representatives. If there are changes, a joint committee of lawmakers will have to go over the individual differing clauses before sending it to the president.
If there are significant changes, it may have to go back to the Senate to be passed there once again.
The US and the UK governments have threatened to cut aid to the African country if it passes the bill.
Gay sex has long been banned in Nigeria, punished by prison in the south and the death penalty in the north.
Bisi Alimi, a Nigerian gay activist, told GSN he was ‘shocked’ and ‘heartbroken’ by the bill’s passing.
He said: ‘The time the vote was supposed to happen was November last year and they didn’t do it and nobody was expecting it.
‘There has been lots of political instability in the last few days. It was Democracy Day in Nigeria and there are lots of questions about the legitimacy of the president and the House of Representatives.
‘It is a shocking way for them to try to get through those political problems by passing this bill.
‘If the president signs this bill it will be the first country in recent history to criminalize gay people in its constitution in this way.
‘And it will have a big impact. Uganda will be next, Sierra Leone will follow.’