[JURIST] The Nigerian House of Representatives [official website] held public hearings Wednesday on a proposed bill to criminalize homosexuality [JURIST news archive]. The bill would authorize a maximum five-year sentence for any person found to be openly gay or practicing homosexual acts. Religious groups say the bill is necessary to protect public morality, but gay activists said it will violate human rights. According to a BBC correspondent, political insiders in Nigeria predict the bill could pass both the House and Senate by the end of March. BBC News has more.
In November, South Africa enacted a civil unions law [JURIST report], becoming the first African nation to recognize same-sex unions. That law was passed after the South African Constitutional Court [official website] in October 2005 ruled [summary; JURIST report] that the 1961 Marriage Act [1997 extension text, PDF], effectively precluding same-sex marriages, violated the South African Constitution [text].