New Nigeria Law Imprisons Gays Who Marry

By Michelle Garcia

Originally published on Advocate.com January 13 2014 3:11 PM ET

The president of Nigeria has signed a bill into law declaring that any citizen who marries someone of the same gender could be imprisoned for up to 14 years.

President Goodluck Jonathan signed the bill Monday, which says the only way Nigerians who marry same-sex partners can avoid jail is by renouncing their sexual orientation. According to ThinkProgress, the law would also punish those found assembling with other gay people in clubs or making public declarations of same-sex relationships.

The law prompted U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to issue a statement, saying that the American government was "deeply concerned" about Nigeria's new law.

"Beyond even prohibiting same sex marriage, this law dangerously restricts freedom of assembly, association, and expression for all Nigerians," Kerry said in a statement Monday. "Moreover, it is inconsistent with Nigeria’s international legal obligations and undermines the democratic reforms and human rights protections enshrined in its 1999 Constitution. People everywhere deserve to live in freedom and equality. No one should face violence or discrimination for who they are or who they love."