Last week we published a post about the impending public hearing on Nigeria’s Same Gender Marriage bill by Dorothy Aken’Ova, a Nigerian woman who works with the International Centre for Reproductive Health and Sexual Rights (INCRESE). Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs set the tone for the hearing a few weeks ago when he declared that as far as he’s concerned, the lack of organizing among LGBTQQI groups in Nigeria means that they don’t exist and shouldn’t be granted rights. The BBC reports that there were indeed gay rights activists present at the hearing, and they were vocal. There was also plenty of opposition – scroll down through the BBC article to see a picture of smiling children wearing t-shirts that read, “Same sex marriage is unnatural is unAfrican.”
The Reverend Rowland Jide Macaulay, who runs the House of Rainbow MCC and writes a blog of the same name, reported back about the hearing in a post at 4 pm yesterday:
The debate is now over and the overstretched LGBT delegates and allies are preparing for a press conference with the Media. Many LGBT leaders, Youth and allies stood up in the Parliament to make a case for the rejection of the Same Gender Prohibition Bill 2008, I was informed by our delegates that there were No Muslim or Northerners at the Hearing which is very odd, however there were loads of Anglican Clerics, all dressed for the occasion, this is indicative and evidential of the master minds behind this bill. 80% or more of the presentation were from defenders of LGBT rights, it is believed that more papers were lodged with the Clerk of the House that were not presented today. There are rumours that the bill will pass regardless, however, there has been a dramatic shift in the outlook of the Honorables of the House in their views of the matters of Human Rights especially the Women’s Affairs Ministry, who now align their consideration with the Human Right Commission.
I commend the bravery of all who attended, and ask us not to lose sight of our goals, the battle is not over yet. What happens next?, the bill will now go through due process taking into consideration all the views presented today at the hearing, it will take some time before a response is made public.
Read the rest of the Reverend’s report on what happened yesterday here.
Photo courtesy of the creative commons Flickr photostream of A Girl and Her Camera.