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

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid