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Nigeria House approves bill criminalizing same-sex marriage

The Nigerian House of Representatives [official website] on Thursday approved a bill making same-sex marriage a crime punishable by a maximum of 14 years in prison. Further, any person who witnesses, aids, or abets same-sex marriages; operates gay organizations; or engages in same-sex public displays of affection could be punished by up to 10 years in jail. The bill mirrors a bill approved by the Senate in November 2011 [JURIST report]. The bill was immediately sent to President Goodluck Jonathan [official profile] and awaits his signature.

Homosexuality is illegal in 37 African nations [CGE backgrounder], and South Africa is the only country on the continent where same-sex marriage is not prohibited [BBC report]. In November Malawi's government changed its position [JURIST report] on a decision to suspend it laws barring same-sex marriage and homosexuality after being pressured by a number of churches. This follows Malawi President Joyce Banda's announcement in her first national address [text] last May that she would decriminalize homosexual acts [JURIST report].

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