The House of Representatives yesterday joined the Senate in passing the Anti-gay Marriage Bill for second reading.
The Senate had earlier defied local and international pressures to pass the bill last November, stipulating, among other things, a 14-year imprisonment for gay couples who consummate such union in matrimony, as well as a 10-year prison term for any person who help in any way to ensure such marriages take place.
The bill is entitled, “A Bill for an Act to Prohibit Marriage or Civic Union Entered into Between Persons of Same Sex, Solemnisation of Same and for other Matters Related Therewith.”
The House, which commenced the process of concurring the Senate’s version yesterday, unanimously adopted second reading of the proposed legislation, and subsequently committed same to the Committee of Whole, preparatory to its consideration and third reading.
Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Mulikat Akande-Adeola, who led debate on the general principles of the Bill, described same-sex marriage as “alien to our society and must not be imported,” adding that our religions and cultural values abhor same.
Supporting the position, the Minority Leader, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamilah, submitted that the Marriage Act, which clearly defines marriage, did not contemplate a same-sex union, and noted that the practice was both immoral and illegal.
In her contribution, Chairman of the House Committee on the Diaspora, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said those who use the issue of human rights to promote homosexuality should remember that they are in the minority, and should not indulge in practices that million others find offensive and repulsive.
Other members, who spoke in support of the Bill, included the Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Hon. Nnena Elendu-Ukeje, Ali Madaki, Bimbo Daramola, Yakubu Dogara, Emmanuel Jime, Dan Abia, Ogbuefi Ozomgbachi and Nkiruka Onyejiocha.
In his submission, Dogara, who blamed the West for leading the campaign in support of gay through threat in aids and development support, warned that Nigeria would not succumb to any form of “cultural colonisation,” adding that self-preservation was the first law of human existence.
After a marathon debate on the Bill by members, Chairman of the House Committee on Rules and Business, Hon. Albert Sam-Tsokwa, citing Order 12 Rule 83 of the Standing Orders of the House, moved that the Bill be referred to the Committee of Whole, a motion which was unanimously adopted by members through a voice vote.