A year ago, news came from Nigeria that the Senate was attempting to pass an anti-gay marriage bill that would lead to gay men and women being sent to jail for up to 14 years. In addition, anyone who failed to inform the police about any LGBT could face jail time – up to 10 years. As a result of this, men/women who may not be gay but are sharing an apartment could be accused of being gay and brought up on charges. It would also create a rift in families who know their son/daughter is gay but have chosen to remain quiet – their silence could mean their freedom. This created an intense international backlash and it seemed that the bill had died. This bill has surreptitiously passed a second reading in the lower house without any dissent. Naturally the usual words and phrases are thrown about: “un-African”, “against out culture”. I fail to see any reason why a government should be pushing for an anti-gay marriage bill in a country where being gay is already illegal. I guess the only reason is to garner more popularity from the masses. At this point, looking at all the problems that Ghana, Nigeria, all of all Africa are facing, if by criminalising homosexuality all these problems would go away, I may even support it. However it won’t take away the politicians who consider public funds their personal property, ministers who buy up chateaux in Europe, sitting members of Parliament and Presidents who are obsessed with making sure their ‘ex-gratias’ are sorted out before they look into items lower down on the priority list such as providing water and electricity to the citizens living in the capital city – as for those elsewhere in the country their time will come, maybe when the next government takes over. It won’t take away the stinking corruption that is so palpable within the society. It won’t bring back the hundreds that have died during the many bomb blasts that have rocked Nigeria in recent times or even prevent the next one from occurring.
In the end, it’s not a question of whether or not supporting such legislature will bring about any changes for the average individual, it’s about protecting other members of society who may face peculiar conditions arising from trying to live life true to themselves in a way that does not affect anyone else. It’s about making sure that everyone is protected under the law. It’s interesting that none of these so-called “leaders” who release all these hateful words from their clearly ignorant maws and back themselves up with religious verses never talk about treating others as we would wish to be treated, a basic tenet of virtually all religions. These days, religion is once again being used as an instrument for justifying hate – unless it never stopped being such a tool in the first place.