A very curious thing happened in Nigeria today: a controversial bill that criminalizes not only gay activities but association with gay rights groups was signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan. The bill recommends up to 14 years for convicted gay citizens, and up to 10 years for people convicted of supporting activities of (or belonging to) gay rights groups.
So, here’s an addendum that is probably now more necessary than ever: In spite of the law, this blog (and I) supports (and will continue to support) the right of gay people everywhere, and especially in Nigeria, to pursue happiness; to love and to marry whoever they want, without interference from a prurient and puerile person, society, or government; and to continue to seek every avenue to express their love and affection for each other in public and in private. It is up to us, the conservative (or intolerant) society, to deal with the insecurities about our sexuality that expresses itself in fear, loathing, and suspicion of our fellow beings. The word of our national anthem that says “One nation bound in freedom, peace and unity” should yet apply to all, in spite of their gender, religion, race, ethnicity, and yes, sexual orientation. And until that time that it does, Nigeria shall continue to be an imperfect experiment needing the moral force of its active citizens to bring it to reckoning with its purpose: providing security and justice for all.
(Update: There’s a long but good read here about why the law is terrible, beyond criminalizing orientation)