Being Gay In Nigeria Not A Jail Sentence: What The Law Actually Says (DETAILS)

Many Nigerians were in an uproar after it was revealed that popular cross dresser, Okuneye Idris had been arrested in Lagos, reportedly for his sexual orientation.

According to Nigerians, especially those in the diaspora, there was no reason for the security agencies to trouble Idris for being a homosexual. Other Nigerians disagreed, including many who are based in the country.

The position of the law on homosexuality in Nigeria is actually the author of the confusion. Many Nigerians who are not well versed with what the law actually says, believe that once you state your alternative sexual orientation, you are liable for arrest.

However that is not the position of the law. According to the law, Nigerians are to be arrested exclusively for engaging in gay marriage and civil unions

Full Text Of The Anti-Gay Nigerian Law:

SAME SEX MARRIAGE (PROHIBITION) ACT, 2014

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM
This Act prohibits a marriage contract or civil union entered into between persons of same sex, and provides penalties for the solemnization and witnessing of same thereof.

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS
1. Prohibition of marriage or civil union by persons of same sex.
2. Solemnization of same sex marriage in places of worship.
3. Recognized marriage in Nigeria.
4. Registration of homosexual clubs and societies.
5. Offences and penalties.
6. Jurisdiction.
7. Interpretation.
8. Citation

SAME SEX MARRIAGE (PROHIBITION) ACT 2014
An Act to prohibit a marriage contract or civil union entered into between persons of same sex, solemnization of same; and for related matters.

[Commencement] 7th Day of January, 2014]

Enacted by the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria:

Prohibition of marriage or civil union by persons of same sex
1. (1) A marriage contract or civil union entered into between persons of same sex:
(a) is prohibited in Nigeria; and
(b) shall not be recognized as entitled to the benefits of a valid marriage.
(2) A marriage contract or civil union entered into between persons of same sex by virtue of a certificate issued by a foreign country is void in Nigeria, and any benefit accruing therefrom by virtue of the certificate shall not be enforced by any court of law.

Solemnization of same sex marriage in places of worship
2. (1) A marriage contract or civil union entered into between persons of same sex shall not be solemnized in a church, mosque or any other place of worship in Nigeria.
(2) No certificate issued to persons of same sex in a marriage or civil union shall be valid in Nigeria.

Recognized Marriage in Nigeria
3 Only a marriage contracted between a man and a woman shall be recognized as valid in Nigeria.
Registration of homosexual clubs and societies

4. (1) The Registration of gay clubs, societies and organisations, their sustenance, processions and meetings is prohibited.
(2) The public show of same sex amorous relationship directly or indirectly is prohibited.

Offences and Penalties
5. (1) A person who enters into a same sex marriage contract or civil union commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of 14 years imprisonment.
(2) A person who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organization, or directly or indirectly makes public show of same sex amorous relationship in Nigeria commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of 10 years imprisonment.
(3) A person or group of persons who administers, witnesses, abets, or aids the solemnization of a same sex marriage or civil union, or supports the registration, operation and sustenance of gay clubs, societies, organizations, processions or meetings in Nigeria commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of 10 years imprisonment.

Jurisdiction
6. The High Court of a State or of the Federal capital Territory shall have jurisdiction to entertain matters arising from the breach of the provisions of this Act.

Interpretation
7. In this Act:
“Marriage” means a legal union entered into between persons of opposite sex in accordance with the Marriage Act, Islamic Law or Customary Law;
“Court” means High Court of a State or of the Federal Capital Territory;
“Same sex marriage” means the coming together of persons of the same sex with the purpose of living together as husband and wife or for other purposes of same sexual relationship;
“Witness” means a person who signs or witnesses the solemnization of the marriage; and
“civil union” means any arrangement between persons of the same sex to live together as sex partners, and includes such description as:
(a) adult independent relationships;
(b) caring partnerships;
(c) civil partnerships;
(d) civil solidarity pacts;
(e) domestic partnerships;
(f) reciprocal beneficiary relationships;
(g) registered partnerships;
(h) significant relationships; and
(i) stable unions.

Citation
8. This Act may be cited as the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, 2014.

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