An Overview of the Nigerian Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, 2013

Larry Obinna Chukwu


The Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act recently enacted by Nigeria
criminalizes marriage or civil union between persons of the same sex;
solemnization of same sex marriage or civil union or witnessing, aiding or
abetting the same; registration, operation, membership or support of gay clubs;
public show of same sex amorous relationship and related matters. Each of
these offences attracts a long term of imprisonment. The Act was enacted in
bold defi ance of threats of economic and political sanctions by the western
powers against any developing country that enacts anti-gay legislation. This
article reviews the Act against the backdrop of the extant laws operative in
Nigeria as well as the underlying mores of the Nigerian society in contrast
to western idiosyncrasies. It concludes that the enactment is consistent with
Nigerian culture and pre-existing laws, whereas the human rights’ spin which
the western world lately puts on homosexual orientation, on the footing of
which the enactment is attacked, is rooted in neither natural law nor customary
international law.

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