News / Africa

Nigerians Hopeful, Angry Over US Gay Marriage Case

Supporters of gay marriage hold a banner as they rally in front of the Supreme Court in Washington March 27, 2013.
Supporters of gay marriage hold a banner as they rally in front of the Supreme Court in Washington March 27, 2013.
Heather Murdock
As the U.S. Supreme Court considers the country's legal position on gay marriage, Nigerian leaders are re-asserting their position on the issue, advocating laws that further ban the already illegal practice.  Gay rights activists in Nigeria fear if the U.S. Supreme Court decides to uphold laws banning gay marriage in America, it will be an excuse to further squash gay rights in Nigeria.

Religious and political leaders are bitterly divided on many issues but they generally stand together in condemnation of gay marriage, saying it is a practice that is spreading from the West and must be stopped.

Musa Soba, a lawyer and local chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria, a prominent opposition party, rejects the view that gay marriage is a human right.

"Your rights should remain as far as the issue of survival is concerned, as far as your right to eat is concerned, your right to life, your right to freedom of association and the rest.  But it does not transcend to your right to abuse nature," he said.

Pastor Yohanna Buru, head of the Christ Evangelical Fellowship Church in the northern city of Kaduna, says the notion of gay marriage is harming his religion.

"There are certain agents in the church promoting evil in the church.  Destroying and deforming the name of Christianity,"  said Buru.

And the spokesperson for the Supreme Council of Sharia Law in Nigeria, Abdullahi Bayero, sees the practice as nothing short of catastrophic.

"I believe from a religion perspective, as I have said earlier, it is the beginning and a sign that the world is coming to an end," said Bayero.

On the streets it is impossible to find anyone who will defend gay marriage.

"To me, in my opinion it is totally unacceptable," a man said. Another man adds, "It’s a devilish act.  It’s barbaric and animalistic."

"It’s not good," a women said. "I don’t support it at all.  I don’t support it."

Private support

And behind closed doors in this compound outside the Nigerian capital, Thaddeus Ugoh, who advocates for the rights of sexual minorities, says even he would not speak up for gay marriage on the streets.  But he says things are slowly changing in Nigeria and he is watching the U.S. Supreme Court case closely.

He says the case is an opportunity for the U.S. to show moral leadership in the area of human rights.  On the other hand, he says, if the Supreme Court decides to uphold the laws banning gay marriage it could increase hostility towards homosexuals in Nigeria and other deeply conservative countries.

"In fact the kind of crisis it will cause in countries like ours, you can't imagine it.  There is already hatred.  There is phobia.  They are already against people that are perceived to be gay," he said.

Ugoh says he has great hope that the world’s growing sympathy for gay rights is spreading to Africa, but he also worries that if the U.S. steps back from the trend, gay people in Africa will sink further into the shadows, making it more difficult for aid organizations to provide health care and support.

Legalization unlikely

However, if the court finds in favor of gay marriage in the U.S., analysts say it is unrealistic that gay marriage will be legalized in Nigeria any time soon. 

"I think it would take much more than that for any serious push to happen to legalize gay marriage in Nigeria," said Clement Nwankwo, executive director of the Policy and Legal Advocacy Center in Abuja.

Homosexual acts are also illegal in Nigeria, he says, and that is also not likely to change.  But Nwankwo says although it is not obvious on the streets, Nigeria is more tolerant of gays than it used to be.

Ibrahima Yakubu contributed to this report from Kaduna.

You May Like

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Just a kid from: Right here
March 30, 2013 9:41 AM
I cannot support same-sex-marriage for many reasons. The biggest reason is that it is all about money. The defense of same-sex marriage is all about tax benefits, pensions, life insurance,… Just like row v wade it has nothing to do with the Children. Same-sex couples NEED someone form the opposite sex to create life. Then the Child is raised in a family not knowing one of their parents. As a man that grew up this way I can clearly see that traditional families work when there is a Father and a Mother. I can see the down falls of same-sex marriage.

I hope that we wake up see what may happen before it is too late.


by: Randal Oulton from: Toronto
March 29, 2013 1:10 AM
Nigeria is so rife with corruption, religious wars and religious people killing each other in the streets, spam and phishing emails stealing money from hard working people in the West... .. the country honesty has no moral voice on any issue, really. It's a basket case, the whole country, sadly.


by: Amaenu Edem Ani, Nsukka. from: Melbourne
March 28, 2013 8:21 PM
The issue of Gay marriage as far I am concerned is abomination and undivine . God created man and woman for proceation. Imagine what would happen in the world next 100 years if every one should be gay and lesbian. The human race would be extinct. God created a man and a woman in his image and blessed them and said to them, 'Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it'[ Gen.1: 27-28]. Homosexuality was the reason for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah [Genesis: ch.9] Whoever is advocating for gay marriage or gay right should reflect on what happened to the two cities of Sodom & Gomorrah.


by: Inis Magrath from: USA
March 28, 2013 4:04 PM
As the ruling elite in Nigeria rail against gay people, somewhere Chinua Achebe is rolling in his grave.


by: OLive N from: Winnipeg, Manitoba
March 28, 2013 2:23 PM
It is absolutely wrong to assume Nigerians care a hoot what the U.S courts do to address Gay/Lesbian program under their constituency . W have no name for gay lesbian culture in my language for instance that I know of , that is why it is not part of the culture of he people .


by: Winsor from: FL
March 28, 2013 1:53 PM
Where I was raised if a person came out and say they're gay, they get bullies. Now a day things are changing, thats good from gays & lesbians prospective. I'd never bullied gay people or had hatred toward them. But, when you talk about marriage is between a man & a woman...I don't know if i would change mind my later on but for now thats my standing point.....

In Response

by: rextrek from: USA
March 29, 2013 3:41 PM
no oe cares what you think - just stay OUT of the way.....we may not like what YOU do in your life either


by: Frank7092 from: U.S.A.
March 28, 2013 1:22 PM
No, not the end of the world. Just a crack in the mythology of religion used to control others. This is heading towards a more compassionate and rational world that accepts all people: a world in which all people (even those you may not like!) are free to be who they are and to live in joy and peace with equal rights. Regardless of how the Supreme Court decides these two cases, it is inevitable that the U.S. Constitution will not tolerate bigotry and hate in the long run. Sorry, hate stinks just as bad, even if it is rooted in religion.

In Response

by: Frank Wilms
April 02, 2013 8:54 PM
Excuse me, Kate. I am the one being denied equal rights. My partner and I have been together for 33 years. No religion owns marriage. Each religion is free to decide who marries in their church, but they don't get to use their personal religious values to deny rights to others. The state owns the definition and rules of marriage. Yes religion has influenced marriage for thousands of years, I agree. It is now time to stop it from denying tax-paying, law-abiding citizens the 1138 Federal rights that other married people can have.

In Response

by: Kate
April 02, 2013 11:46 AM
Sorry Frank, you can't use your "time machine" argument to wipe out religion's effect on marriage. Whatever happened before is IRRELEVANT. Religion has influenced marriage for thousands of years. And the society we live in today.

Just because you have a different moral standard to others, give you no right to impress it more on them than they on you. Nor to ridicule others. That's what bigotry is. The contest of ideas is being fought right now throughout the world- Nigeria, the US, Russia.


by: Julian Gumbs from: Atlanta
March 28, 2013 1:01 PM
Legalized Gay marriage will have exactly ZERO effect in Nigeria, furthermore Africa as a whole....It will NEVER be recognized...The notion that what America does will translate to African nations, is finished, that Time Has Passed......

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid