Friday, January 17, 2014

More on Nigeria's Anti-Gay Bill

Following up on my post yesterday considering the public health angle on the anti-gay bill (hint: it's terrible for public health), I saw the version of the bill the Senate passed. This may be the same version the President did as well, so it merits attention.

Lawyer and blogger Ayo Sogunro did some great analysis over at his blog on the human rights and constitutional issues inherent in the law. As he points out, this bill has nothing to do with marriage, even targets civil unions, and is more of a witchhunting law than anything that seeks to deter bad behavior. After expanding on how the law should be of concern to all Nigerians -- not just LGBT ones -- he rounds up with how the law is lazy, even by Nigerian standards:

Just take the basics, simple definitions: the definition of “civil union” isn’t closed, and can legitimately mean two girls sharing an apartment; “amorous relationship” is not defined and so even heterosexual greetings can be maliciously interpreted as the expression of a homosexual relationship; words like “support”, “meetings” are used carelessly without defined categories and exceptions; the burden of proof is not stated; the law does not provide for categories of unintentional or “inadvertent” offenders; and worse—it is a retrospective law—a type of law strongly disapproved of by our constitution. In summary, it’s a very lazy law—the kind a mob will hurriedly put together just to legalise their murderous instincts. But, you see, you can’t amend such a law to take care of these issues—because they deal with private matters that are difficult to enforce by the public without sacrificing people in the process.

Give it a read.


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