The Nigerian Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, 2013 has been generating controversy worldwide. While some developed countries see same sex marriage as a human rights issue which government should not interfere with, Nigeria sees it as cultural fundamental that could destroy the moral backbone of the country.
SAME SEX MARRIAGE (PROHIBITION) ACT, 2013
Marriage has been defined in the interpretation section of the Act thus:
“marriage” means a legal union entered into between persons of opposite sex in accordance with the marriage Act, Islamic Law or Customary Law.
The underlined world in the above definition is opposite sex while the cumulative deduction from the said definition is that a man cannot marry a man and a woman cannot get married to a woman.
Same sex marriage has been defined in the interpretation section of the Act as follows:
“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 relation.
The intendment of the above definition is that, where people of same sex stay together without the existence of any sexual relationship, they cannot be said to have indulged in a same sex marriage.
“Civil union” has been defined in the Act thus:
“Civil union” means any arrangement between persons of the same sex to live together as sex partners, and includes such descriptions such as:
(a) Adult independent relationships;
(b) Caring partnerships;
(c) Civil partnerships;
(d) Civil solidarity pacts;
(e) Domestic partnerships;
(f) Reciprocal beneficiary relationships;
(g) Registered partnerships;
(h) Significant relationships; and
(i) Stable unions.
The intendment of the above definition is that any same sex relationship under whatsoever name or an association or group whether registered or not is prohibited under the Act.
Court has been defined under the Act thus:
“Court” means the High Court of a state or of the Federal Capital territory.
This implies that that the jurisdiction to try same sex offences is only vested in the High Court of a state or of the Federal Capital territory.
The offences and penalties are contained in section 5 of the Act. Persons who enter into same sex marriage are liable upon conviction to 14 years imprisonment while persons who registers or participate in gay clubs/societies directly and indirectly or aids or abets same sex marriage in any form whatsoever are liable upon conviction to 10 years imprisonment.
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