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Cisi Eze: We’re All Felons! Dissecting the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act

Cisi Eze

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Once upon a time, a very close friend and I were at a live show Somewhere-On-Lagos-Island. A woman was performing with a band, singing her heart out, and mesmerising the audience with her voice. Minutes into the show, the band started another number. Lady Singer stepped down from the stage and walked towards the tables. “I want a guy to sing this song to me,” she said in a cutesy voice (the kind of voice a child would use in telling her older brother to buy her a cone of ice cream on his way back home from work), as a big grin materialised on her face.

Soon, we saw that someone seated at the table in front of us had raised a hand to indicate interest. This table comprised of a “guy man” squad. Now, there was a woman with them. This fine woman was wearing the same things as those young men, and she could pass off as “one of ‘em bros”. Plot twist: the woman was the one who raised her hand.

My friend and I turned to each other, our eyes as large as the plates we were eating from, and we mouthed in tandem, “Wow!” Remember the singer said she wanted a man to sing the song to her. And that was how the song began. Fine Woman was singing to Lady Singer. She sang and made the same gestures a man would make – she respectfully held Lady Singer’s hand, made eye contact. It was too beautiful, and I could not help but sing from my table. I was even snapping my fingers in appreciation and stanation like, “Oshey! Sistah mii! Pepper them!”

The song was flowing smoothly until Lady Singer said, amidst contrived laughter, “14 years-o. 14 years.”

Lady Singer ruined the song. Fine Woman did not touch her rudely, yet she was crying, “14 years-o… Nyen-nyen-nyen… 14 years”, because of “improper use of pronouns.” Between you and me, I wanted to take off my flat shoe to stone Lady Singer, as she skedaddled her way back up on the stage in the manner a new religious convert would walk away from a troubled, sinful past.

Nigerians who have not read the SSMPA are so eager to scream “14 years!” Plot twist: according to that wonderful law, one way or another, we all are felons, and we deserve 14 years in jail.

The Nigerian Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act (2014) “prohibits a marriage contract or civil union entered into between persons of same sex, and provides penalties for the solemnization and witnessing of same thereof.” It is divided into eight (8) sections. Three (3) of the sections will be explored on this post. Subsequently, I will write on the others.

Section One

Prohibition of marriage or civil union by persons of same sex

  1. (1) A marriage contract or civil union entered into between persons of same sex:

(a)    is prohibited in Nigeria; and

(b)    shall not be recognized as entitled to the benefits of a valid marriage.

(2)    A marriage contract or civil union entered into between persons of same sex by virtue of a certificate issued by a foreign country is void in Nigeria, and any benefit accruing therefrom by virtue of the certificate shall not be enforced by any court of law.

This section states that people of the same-sex area not allowed to get married or enter civil unions. But as it were, two queer people can have a marriage situation, regardless of the law.

What happens when two adults of the same-sex decide to have a businesslike arrangement? A woman could decide to get a flat with her partner. They can have kids from the same sperm donor. That way, their kids are related by blood. These women could decide to draft up a businesslike contract. Something like a prenup. In the event anything happens to her, the contract would state that her partner should be the legal guardian of her kids. Michael Jackson did this with Diana Ross. No one can prosecute them under the law. As far as we are concerned, they are flatmates. A good number of us have had cause to share a room with someone at different points in our lives. Nowadays, people even rent flats with strangers. This arrangement is neither a marriage nor civil union. Except we want to accuse people in business partnerships of being in civil unions.

Section Two

Solemnization of same sex marriage in places of worship

(1) A marriage contract or civil union entered into between persons of same sex shall not be solemnized in a church, mosque or any other place of worship in Nigeria.

(2)    No certificate issued to persons of same sex in a marriage or civil union shall be valid in Nigeria.

It is absurd to subscribe to religions that relentlessly demonise you for something you did not choose. If LGBTQ people could get married, would they want to get married in religious settings? What if the first reading of the wedding mass that day is Romans 1: 26? The law did not state the wedding cannot take place in a court. Under Section One, I already explained how this issue of civil union could be bypassed.

Section Three

Recognized Marriage in Nigeria

(1) Only a marriage contracted between a man and a woman shall be recognized as valid in Nigeria

It says marriage must be between a man and a woman, not a man and three women. What happens in polygamous marriages? There are monarchs with several wives. Does that mean their marriages are invalid? They are going against this act, in the grand scheme of things.

As I stated earlier, this post has been split into two. The other sections of this amazing law are quite interesting, and I will write about them soon.

P.S. Did you know that Section 214(1) of the Criminal Code states it is wrong to have any kind of sex that defiles the definition of sexual intercourse? Having oral, manual (hand jobs), and/or anal sex makes one a felon.

Cisi Eze is a Lagos-based journalist, writer, comic artist, and graphics designer.She feels strongly about LGBT+ rights, feminism, gender issues, and mental health, and this is expressed through her articles as a guest contributor on Bella Naija, her blog – Shades of Cisi, a podcast she co-presents – We Said It, and an online radio show – Stirring the Waters. Aside these, she has works on Kalahari Review, The Rustin Times, Outcast Magazine, Holaafrica, Mounting the Moon, 14: An Anthology of Queer Art Volume 1 and 2.Cisi’s art challenges existing societal norms.

14 Comments

  1. .love

    July 16, 2018 at 9:08 pm

    Cisi surrender to JESUS christ now that you can before its too late,no matter the form you put this topic, nigeria will not legalize gay marriages its a sin against God, polygamy is a sin, these issues you will never understand until your spiritual eyes are open. My heart bleeds for people out there trapped in these lies. As you continue to speak for this topic, we will continue to speak against it. As for those of you involved in same sex relationship JESUS loves you very much, and if you want out you can, he will change your mind and life, you are not born this way, you are not your feelings, God created you in his likeness believe the word of God and accept it for yourself, that the deliverance you need from it. You can never find peace outside God. But remember JESUS loves you very much and he is willing to accept you now.

    • Seriously

      July 17, 2018 at 12:58 pm

      [email protected] You ain’t playing.
      It’s funny how Cisi tried to make up a story, do an amateur, cheesy plot twist just to still make the same LAME argument. No matter how widely accepted it is, and folks try to normalize, it will forever remain wrong just like every other bad lifestyle. Yes, we were born in sin, but we are not supposed to accept and continue in it. I fornicate, I know it’s wrong. I don’t go around trying to justify and make it right . People don’t feel good, about doing wrong things. Your guilty conscience eats you up, the problem is not others acceptance of your wrong. I don’t know that many liars and thieves who are proud of their actions. I don’t announce that I have sex with men. So, it’s rather ridiculous when gays announce who they choose to sleep with.
      Another thing, I believe Gays live freely in Nigeria. I think the law is mainly targeted to instill some type of caution and fear. . I mean, Nigerian culture is very private, I rarely see heterosexual couples being publicly affectionate let alone pushing to see two gay nigerian men holding hands and kissing publicly. The last time I visited Nigeria, went to a club in Abuja there were gay men who openly sought out other men. At night, you will see transgender prostitutes in the street. So, they’ve been f*cking privately and let it remain that way.

      The American people others try to emulate are fighting against it, one of the reasons Trump was elected. And rarely will you see gays flaunting their lifestyle in your face and when it happens, one is taken back like take several seats. TV is different from real life.

      Cisi, I know you have right to your life but there are better, more beneficial causes to focus your energy on. The truth is here to stay.

    • Bade

      July 17, 2018 at 1:04 pm

      Cisi, I am not against you. But I don’t think this is a battle worth fighting.

      Why? Nigerians have not been able to form their own ideas of what God is, how to serve her/him, and other views on basic matters of life. This is far beyond what our collective intellect can handle, even if you gave another 10 to 20 years.

      I suggest you channel your energy to other causes Nigerians care about and which will certainly gain you lots of traction, such as how to get married before 30, or How to be happy if you’re over 30 an unmarried, or how to have the wedding of your dreams even if you don’t have a roof over your head.

      My 2 cents.

  2. .love

    July 16, 2018 at 9:10 pm

    JESUS LOVES YOU! YOU are not born GAY. For those who come here to insult me becos i say thees things hmmm am ready its normal coming from you, but we will not stop.

  3. Anne

    July 16, 2018 at 11:12 pm

    Due to the fact that the world is coming to an end ( Although intellectuals who are not as wise as the only wise feel that is just an ideology and the world should let people do as they like). Nigeria may still accept gay marriage due to pressure. Wide acceptance does not mean right. Think about your maker. He does not hate you, in fact no one can love you like Him because no one knows you 100%. If some people who call you friend knew half of your thought life, they won’t even associate with you. Yet your maker gives instructions for you to function at your best. You say no, you’ll rather do as you wish. Writers, publishers, artists, professionals and even some Pastors are now under pressure, even if a writer is against same sex marriage, he or she won’t confidently project that view online due to fear of being labelled, ridiculed or persecuted. My cousin studied journalism at the University of Leeds. She has refused to practice o. If you know the pressure secular writers face, you won’t believe it, in this generation of social media, they will lose a large number of audience. Most of them have therefore decided to plough the diplomatic route but those who know their God shall be strong and do exploits.

    • Love

      July 17, 2018 at 12:59 am

      Anne its the end of time nah, it will be like a movie on that very day when JESUS wil come. CISI you think you know God or wait maybe you are insinuating God will change to satisfy your beliefs hahahahahah you are very deep in thst hole. Stop leading poeples lives in the path of pain shame confusion and destruction with your writeups my dear. And mind you WE ARE NOT ALL FELONS point of correction, we are children of the most high God and if god is not a felon i am not.

  4. Joy

    July 17, 2018 at 1:56 am

    @Love. You can say that again. Some people don’t know they are influencing people wrongly and sinning against God. Why propagate gayism.

  5. Frank

    July 17, 2018 at 2:00 am

    Another brainwashed liberal moron. This is Africa, we don’t and will never buy into this faggot bullshit. Fuck for trying to paint this faggot bullshit into a beauti6 bullshit.

  6. Oma

    July 17, 2018 at 6:11 am

    I love your comment @Anne ….wide acceptance does not make it right. We are all definitely imperfect and constantly falling into sin but just cos the world has accepted many of our transgressions as normal does not mean it’s right and true Christians understand this hence the continuous struggle, and prayers, to make amends no matter how many times we fall. Anyway, CISI, for one who supports this community, you are not even current. It’s not LGBTQ anymore, the devil is working overtime and he has added some more letters to the acronym so it’s now LGBTQP….etc…. to accommodate all the others who have woken up and further redefined their sexuality. For me, I don’t even get bothered about alternative sexual orientations, I just pray for them like I pray for myself. The Christian life is filled with struggles to be our best selves as God designed us so I empathize with all who struggle with different aspects of their lives for I also struggle with aspects of mine.

    • nene

      July 20, 2018 at 11:16 am

      Please oma if you get to read this, for the record, the christian life is not associated with any struggle, it depends on the amount of knowledge you have.

  7. Cocoa

    July 17, 2018 at 7:33 am

    I thought i was coming here to fight this battle on my own…only to see the children of God have arisen. What a Joy!!

    May God meet them whwre they are and open the mind of their understanding …to SEEK the TRUTH and to FIND it! AMEN.

    CISI the devil is using you for his purpose and you are allowing it. Dont perish for lack of knowledge…go and SEEK the TRUTH.

  8. tunmi

    July 18, 2018 at 7:20 pm

    By these comments you would think Nigeria and Nigerians are heaven and angels

  9. Dami

    July 19, 2018 at 10:41 am

    Cisi continue speaking out and raising awareness. You are a star. Nigerians, keep claiming God in every situation that make you uncomfortable which is one of the reasons we lack a sense of social responsibility, individual thought and even human rights. Calling God will not make anyone less Gay or mean that they would accept ‘Jesus’. Thank you for that insightful article!

    • nene

      July 20, 2018 at 11:13 am

      Let her continue to use her memory and certificates and knowledge to destroy lives until God who owns her life takes it from her then she will realise someone up there has your life at the tip of his fingers, continue playing with fire hmmmm.

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