Gay and lesbian Nigerians in London will hold a kiss-in protest against a bid to explicitly ban same-sex marriage in their homeland.
The demonstration, organised by Nigerian LGBTIs in the Diaspora Against Anti-Same-Sex Laws, is set to take place outside the Nigerian embassy in the British capital on Tuesday.
“Nigerian LGBTI people and our allies will hold hands, hug and kiss as a gesture of defiance against the proposed ban on same-sex marriage and in solidarity with our Nigerian LGBTI brothers and sisters,” said the group’s coordinator, Yemisi Ilesanmi.
“The new Nigerian bill aims to further criminalise same-sex relationships. Already, consensual same-sex conduct between adults is a criminal offence carrying up to 14 years imprisonment and in some parts of the country there is the death penalty under Sharia law.
“Lawmakers are fast tracking the bill. The bill has already passed its second reading,” she added.
The planned kiss-in follows reports that an attempt to present a position paper on behalf of LGBTI people at a Senate public hearing on the bill in late October degenerated into chaos due to heckling, bullying and abuse from religious and other homophobic groups in the room.
The kiss-in organisers intend to officially submit the LGBTI position paper that was read at the public hearing in Abuja to the Nigerian Ambassador to the UK on Tuesday.
Peter Tatchell, director of the human rights group the Peter Tatchell Foundation, will attend the kiss-in.
“This proposed new law violates the equality and non-discrimination guarantees of Article 42 of the Nigerian Constitution and Articles 2 and 3 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, which Nigeria has signed and pledged to uphold,” Tatchell said.
Nigeria’s Same Gender Marriage (Prohibition) Bill stipulates three years’ imprisonment for a person who enters into a same-sex marriage, and five years jail, plus fines, for anyone who “witnesses, abets and aids” a same-sex marriage.