I then discovered that someone else has made a far better job of the transcript here, but hey, I'd done the work, and you're reading this blog, so why go elsewhere? (Actually, the other guy has made a much better job of it.)
Now here is my reaction to the legislation, not the Church of Nigeria's report.
A society may, for its own reasons, choose to legislate against same-sex marriage. It is worth bearing in mind that they are not legal in the UK, though civil partnerships are. If a thing is illegal, then there must, of necessity be penalties. If I've done the correct currency conversion, the group fine of N50,000 is equivalent to about £240. Over against this, the individual fine of N1,000 is a rather derisory £4.76, so I may have got this wrong!
The prison sentences may seem too severe. However, in this country maximum sentences are rarely imposed, and I wonder if the same is true in Nigeria. I simply don't know.
The legislation does also illustrate the problem of drafting laws in a language which is not your first.
The crucial question is, of course, whether such legislation should exist at all, but that is something which will obviously be debated.
Revd John P Richardson
16 March 2009
Be it Enacted by the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as follows:
1.—(1) Marriage Contract entered between persons of same Gender is hereby prohibited in Nigeria.
(2) Marriages Contract entered between persons of same gender are invalid And shall not be recognized as entitled to the benefits of a valid marriage.
(3) Marriage Contract entered between persons of same gender by virtue a certificate issued by a foreign country shall be void in Nigeria, and any benefits accruing there from by virtue of the certificate shall not be enforced by any court of law in Nigeria.
2. —(1) Marriage entered between persons of same Gender shall not be solemnized in any place of worship either Church or Mosque in Nigeria.
(2) No marriage certificate issued to parties of same sex marriage in Nigeria.3. Only marriage contracted between a man and a woman either under Islamic Law, Customary Law and Marriage Act is recognized as valid in Nigeria.
4.—(1) Persons that entered into a same gender marriage contract commit an offence and are jointly liable on conviction to a term of 3 years imprisonment each
(2) Any persons or group of persons that witness, abet and aids the solemnization of a same gender marriage contract commits an offence and liable on conviction to—
(a) if an individual to a term of 5 years imprisonment or a group of persons to a fine of N2,000 of both,
(b) if a group of persons to a fine of N50,000 only.
5. The High Court of a State shall have jurisdiction to entertain matter arising from the breach of the provision of this Bill.
6. In this Bill, unless the context otherwise requires—
“Marriage” here relates to a legal union entered between persons of opposite sex in accordance with the Marriage Act, Islamic and Customary Laws.
“High Court” to include High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
“Same Gender Marriage” means the coming together of persons of the same sex with the purpose of leaving (sic) together as husband and wife or for other purposes of same sexual relationship.
7. This Bill may be cited as Same Gender Marriage (Prohibition) Bill, 2008.
This Bill seeks to prohibit marriage between persons of same gender, and witnessing same, and provide appropriate solemnization of the marriage penalties thereof.
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