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Nigeria Passes Bill Mandating Prison Time For Gays Who Marry

Nigeria’s Senate voted on Tuesday to criminalize gay marriage, instituting prison terms up to 14 years in jail, and witnesses or anyone who helps couples marry could be sentenced to 10 years behind bars.

Homosexuality is already illegal in Nigeria and in areas of the  north where Islamic Shariah law has is enforced gays and lesbians can face death by stoning.

“Such elements in society should be killed,” Sen. Baba Dati said during the Senate debate.

The bill now heads to Nigeria’s House of Representatives, who have to approve the bill and send it to President Goodluck Jonathan for his signature before it becomes a law.

Nigeria’s new anti-gay law comes in the wake of British Prime Minister David Cameron promise to withhold aid to over 41 states which, according to Cameron, are violating the rights of homosexuals. Malawi, Uganda, Nigeria and Ghana are expected to be the first targets of the policy change.

Defiantly Senate President David Mark said Nigeria would not bow to international pressure on any legislation.

“Our values are our values,” Mark said. “No country has a right to interfere in the way we make our laws.”

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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