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article imageU.S. government protests Nigeria's crackdown on gays

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By JohnThomas Didymus     Dec 3, 2011 in Religion
Abuja - The United States government has expressed concern about the recent bill passed by the Nigerian senate that imposes a jail term of 14 years on anyone convicted of contracting same-sex marriage.
Vanguard reports that a statement issued by the embassy of the United States in Nigeria, said,
“The United States is concerned about reports of legislation in Nigeria that would restrict expression, assembly or organization based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The United States believes that all people deserve the full range of human rights and opposes the criminalization of sexual relations between consenting adults. The United States is watching this matter closely.”
According to the statement released by the U.S. embassy on Friday, the ideals of "freedom of speech, assembly and association are long-standing international commitments" that are universally recognized.
The statement said further,
“Nigeria, as a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, has assumed important obligations on these matters. We expect the government of Nigeria to act in a manner consistent with those obligations.”
Digital Journal reported that the Nigerian senate, early in the week, passed a bill banning same-sex marriage in the country. The bill prohibits all marriages between persons of the same sex. The bill, besides prescribing a jail term of 14 years for anyone convicted of contracting same-sex marriage, nullifies certificates of same-sex marriage contracted outside Nigeria, and proscribes all gay clubs. The bill recommends a 10-year jail term, without option of fine, for anyone found guilty of operating a gay club in the country. The bill which criminalizes and prescribes a jail term of 10 years for "direct or indirect public show of same-sex amorous relationship," also provides that "Any person or group or persons that witness, abet and aids the solemnization of a same sex marriage or civil sustenance of gay clubs, societies, organization, process of meeting in Nigeria commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a term of 10 years imprisonment."
The bill, according to Digital Journal, still has to be ratified by the lower house before it is signed by the president.
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