An all-out ban on same-sex marriage in Nigeria is a step closer to reality after the country’s Senate passed a bill that aims to imprison offenders for more than a decade.
SAPA reports that the Senate voted on Tuesday in favour of the Same Gender Marriage (Prohibition) Bill.
To make matters worse, SAPA says that the penalties in the bill have been dramatically increased since its earlier drafts.
If it becomes law, members of same-sex couples who attempt to marry now face 14 years in jail, up from the originally proposed three years in jail.
Anyone who is found guilty of witnessing or aiding the solemnisation of a same-sex marriage could be fined or receive up to ten years in prison, five more than in the original bill.
“Such elements [homosexuals] in society should be killed,” Senator Baba Dati was quoted as saying during the Senate debate.
Referring to reported threats of international aid cuts to countries that have anti-gay laws, Senate President David Mark commented in the debate: “Anybody can write to us but our values are our values. No country has a right to interfere in the way we make our laws.”
The bill will now go to the House of Representatives and, if also passed there, will be sent to President Goodluck Jonathan to sign into law.
Consensual same-sex conduct between adults is already outlawed under the Nigerian penal code and can carry a penalty of imprisonment of up to 14 years.
In the country’s northern states, which operate under Sharia Muslim law, the punishment for homosexuality can be death by stoning.