Monday 7 January 2013
Ban on same-sex marriage stays – Mark
The Senate has ruled out the possibility of legalising same- sex marriage, no matter the pressure from the international community.
Senate President, David Mark, made the declaration on Sunday while addressing the Catholic faithful and guests at a civic reception organised in honour of Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan in Abuja.
He said in spite of pressure from some quarters, the law has come to stay.
Mark said besides banning same-sex marriage, it is now a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment of not less than 14 years.
He said in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Paul Mumeh: “We will not compromise on this. I want to invite you all to join the crusade of decency in our society. There are many good values we can copy from other societies, but certainly not this one.
“We have to prove to the rest of the world, who are advocates of this unnatural way, that we Nigerians promote and respect sanity, morality and humanity.
“Every individual is a product of the union of a man and woman”.
The Senate President acknowledged the cordial relationship between the Nigerian State and the Church and pledged that the National Assembly will continue to do all within the law to ensure religious freedom and peaceful co-existence in the country.
Mark added that the National Assembly will continue to support religious programmes that have a positive bearing on Nigerians but was quick to condemn in the strongest possible terms religious intolerance or extremism.
He enjoined spiritual leaders to continue to pray for good governance, peace and security which are major challenges in our society today.
“We are doing our best to ensure protection of life and property”.
In his remarks, Cardinal Onaiyekan expressed appreciation to Pope Benedict xii, as well as the government and people of Nigeria for their prayers and support, especially since his elevation to the Collage of Cardinals, saying he will continue to be a crusader for peace and unity of the nation where every citizen has a sense of belonging.
Earlier, chairman of the reception organizing committee, Rev. Father Innocent Jooji, had noted that Onaiyekan, a worthy soldier of Christ, has brought honour to the nation with his elevation to the Collage of Cardinals.