Abuja: Nigeria's Parliament has passed a bill criminalizing gay marriage, making it punishable with a 14-year prison term. However, speculation is rife whether President Goodluck Jonathan would sign the bill into law.
The country's lower house, the House of Representatives, followed the action of the Senate and endorsed the bill.
In November 2011, the country's Senate passed the bill with an overwhelming majority with Senate President David Mark saying that homosexuality was foreign to Nigerian culture.
Included in the bill are sections that make it unlawful to register gay associations and make public show of same-sex relationships indirectly or directly. This section attracts 10-year jail term.
Nigeria's two religions, Christianity and Islam speak out frequently against gay practices thereby giving impetus to the lawmakers who would not like to be seen as "immoral".
To this end, there was hardly a dissenting voice throughout the deliberations leading to the bill except few gay association members who appeared during public hearings to oppose the move.
Critics have said the passing of the bill was a waste of time since there are no persons who approached any registry within the country to be married as gays.
United States and Britain have threatened to cut funding for the country's AIDS and HIV control programme if the President finally signs the bill into law.


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