The Senate yesterday unanimously passed a harmonised Conference Committee report banning same sex marriage in Nigeria, a development that defies stiff western opposition to the ban.
Again, the Senate President, David Mark called on President Goodluck Jonathan to quickly sign the Bill into law.
Mark: “We have been under series of attack from different quarters. I think we believe in this Bill. The earlier we sign it into law, the better. We (Nigeria) have have many shortcomings, we don’t one to add this one (same sex marriage) to it”
LEADERSHIP recalls that the Same Sex Bill, 2011 was passed by the Senate on Tuesday 29, November, 2011 and the House of Representatives on Tuesday 2, July 2013. However, some differences were noticed in the two versions of the Bill, as passed by the two Chambers. Consequently, a Conference Committee was constituted in the Senate on Tuesday 9 July 2013 to reconcile the areas of differences, which appeared essentially in five clauses of the Bill.
In detail the Bill passed by the Senate provides: a marriage contract or civil union entered into between persons of same sex by virtue a certificate issued by a foreign country shall be void in Nigeria.
Also, marriage or civil union entered into between persons of same sex shall not be solemnized in any place of worship either Church or Mosque or any other place whatsoever called in Nigeria.
Again, only marriage contracted between a man and a woman either under Islamic Law, Customary Law or the Marriage Act is recognised as valid in Nigeria.
The Bill also provided that persons that entered into a same sex marriage or civil union contract commit an offence and are jointly liable on conviction to a term of 14 years imprisonment each.
Also, any persons or group of persons that administers, witnesses, screens, abet and aids the solemnization of a same sex marriage contract or civil union or supports the registration, operation of gay clubs, societies and organisations, processions or meetings in Nigeria commits an offence and liable on conviction to a term of 10 years imprisonment.