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Cisi Eze: Dissecting the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act (2)

Cisi Eze

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(This is a continuation from my last post.)

A sizable number of the population scream “14 years!”, despite not understanding the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act of 2014. In addition, they do not realise that the SSMPA is not against anyone’s sexual orientation. It does not explicitly state: You are guilty if your sexual orientation is gay, lesbian, or bisexual. The crux of this law is sexual behaviour, not sexual orientation. Sexual orientation and sexual behaviour are different concepts.

The SSMPA is against any behavioural pattern that goes against the “natural order of things” or inhibits procreation. As I wrote in the previous post, “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.”

Here are the rest sections:

Section Four

Registration of homosexual clubs and societies

(1) The Registration of gay clubs, societies and organisations, their sustenance, processions and                                        meetings is prohibited.

Homosexuality is the enduring romantic attraction, sexual attraction, or sexual behaviour between members of the same sex. “Physical and emotional aspects of sexuality include bonds between individuals that are expressed through profound feelings or physical manifestations of love, trust, and care.” (Wikipedia)

What do we call men-only clubs? What can we say of women-only organisation? Do they not provide emotional support for their members?

In addition, one can start something like a bible study group as a front for a gay club. The manifest function of the group would be “we are studying the word of God-o.” But those in the club would know that it is a club for gay people. Those who know will know.

(2)    The public show of same sex amorous relationship directly or indirectly is prohibited.

Two heterosexual people of the same sex should not be seen holding hands in public, as that is a “homosexual” thing to do. I see people of the same sex holding hands and being affectionate with each other. Does that not make them guilty?

Section Five

Offenses and Penalties

(1) A person who enters into a same sex marriage contract or civil union commits an offence and is liable on                       conviction to a term of 14 years imprisonment.

Two lovers of the same sex can choose to move in together without being married or being in a civil union. This does not stop them from living their best lives. A good number of us have had cause to have roomies and flat-mates without being harassed.

(2) A person who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs,   societies and organization, or directly or indirectly makes public  show of same sex amorous relationship in Nigeria commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of 10 years imprisonment.

To start with, there is no law-enforcing agency to implement this law. In terms of  drug trafficking, you have NAPTIP. For drugs, you have NAFDAC. Where is the Homosexuality and Bedroom Activities Monitoring Agency of Nigeria? If such agency were to exist, would they go from street to street to monitor every gathering of people? Would they see two cousins of the same sex and arrest them for inappropriate behavior? Would they arrest a white gay couple on tour at Oniru Beach? Richard Quest was here, and no one arrested him.

(3)   A person or group of persons who administers, witnesses, abets, or aids the solemnization of a same sex marriage or civil union, or supports the registration, operation and sustenance of gay clubs, societies, organizations, processions or meetings in Nigeria commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of 10 years imprisonment.

(See above)

Section Six

Jurisdiction

The High Court of a State or of the Federal capital Territory shall have jurisdiction to entertain matters arising from the breach of the provisions of this Act.

Section Seven 

Interpretation

In this Act:
“Marriage” means a legal union entered into between persons of opposite sex in accordance with the Marriage Act, Islamic Law or Customary Law;

(Is this definition based on religious texts? I could have wagered we were a secular state.)

“Court” means High Court of a State or of the Federal Capital Territory;

“Same sex marriage” means the coming together of persons of the same sex with the purpose of living together as husband and wife or for other purposes of same sexual relationship;

(Two women coming together to be a couple are not doing so as husband and wife. They are wife and wife.)

“Witness” means a person who signs or witnesses the solemnization of the marriage; and

“Civil union” means any arrangement between persons of the same sex to live together as sex partners, and includes such description as:

  • adult independent relationships;
  • caring partnerships;
  • civil partnerships;
  • civil solidarity pacts;
  • domestic partnerships;
  • reciprocal beneficiary relationships;
  • registered partnerships;
  • significant relationships;

 

When two people decide to go into a business, it is a union. They seek stability. Does this not affect business partnerships? Does this mean we cannot care for our (best) friends of the same sex? Are there insignificant relationships?

Section Eight

Citation

This Act may be cited as the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, 2014.

After studying this law, we can see that we cannot use it to try people to court. It is more interesting that we all are inadvertently guilt-worthy – in the way we hold hands and get affectionate with our same-sex friends; in the way we participate in sexual acts that impede procreation; in the way we are members of same-sex clubs that promote trust and love; in the way we show care to our roommates.

In the real sense, making a law to hurt a section of society based on “culture” and religion, does not make sense. If someone does not harm you in anyway, it is insanity to go out of your way to hurt them. Where lies your humanity if you lack empathy.

P.S. If we are going to make law based on religious books, we might as well ban everything against the Old Testament. Men should not cut their beards. No one should eat shrimps, crayfish, and lobsters. If Nigeria is a secular state, why does religion crawl into our constitution?

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Cisi Eze is a Lagos-based freelance journalist, writer, comic artist, and graphics designer. A media and justice fellow of the Bisi Alimi Foundation, she feels strongly about LGBT+ rights, feminism, gender issues, and mental health, and this is expressed through her works on Bella Naija and her blog – Shades of Cisi. Aside these, she has works on Kalahari Review, Holaafrica, Mounting the Moon, Gender IT, Outcast Magazine, Rustin Times, 14: An Anthology of Queer Art Volume 1 and 2, and Sweet Deluge (Issue 2). Cisi’s art challenges existing societal norms.

5 Comments

  1. didi

    August 14, 2018 at 7:18 am

    If u ever get to post this comment, CISI JESUS still loves you. And for the readers it doesn’t matter what your problem is weither sexual or mental or emotional there is a solution, God is reaching out for you more than you think or you are trying to reach him, dont give in to what you hear misguided people say, if God utters a word it surely comes to pass and he has said you are beautiful, blessed, loved and unique, you are never alone. Make him your choice for life and you will never regret it. ACCEPT JESUS today. We love you.

  2. mama

    August 14, 2018 at 9:12 am

    CiSi, Ihuoma, Do you see us writing about straight rights? It is okay being gay. Stop finding ways of being accepted. Straight people don’t struggle to be accepted. Live your life, let us live ours. Your choice, Our choice.

  3. John

    August 14, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    Lol ..grasping at straws

  4. The truth shall prevail

    August 15, 2018 at 3:58 am

    Cisi eze rides hard, she must be paid by LGBT.

    The reality is, every society is governed and controlled by a set of rules and laws that should be enforced whether we agree with it or not. I personally dont believe gays should be penalized or criminalized. However the fight to remove morality and religion in a society is ludicrous. its doomed to fail. There must be a standard truth that all should go by. Every country in the world has a particular religion, beliefs they follow and practice and it is a major factor on how they run their government. From christianity, to islam, hinduism, budhism, confucianism, etc No matter how secular the society is, there’s a common belief and truth they operate by.
    The U.S is used as a yard stick. Yeah, gays are not arrested here and can get married freely. Having freedom is not equivalent to right. Acceptance/tolerance is doesnt erase and justify yoir wrong. If a parent gives their child freedom to behave anyhow without parental guidance, it doesnt automatically mean the child’s action is right or okay.

    No matter how much people want to run away from the truth, it will always remain. Guilty conscience and insecurity is what makes people want to be accepted by others. Instead of condoning more wrongs, fighting for tolerance its about time to fight for right things.
    It’s okay to be unacceptable and have zero tolerance against things detrimental to humanity.

  5. gbaskelebo

    August 18, 2018 at 11:09 pm

    Hmmm… God help us, here she goes again!

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