ABUJA, Nigeria (MCT) — Nigeria’s Senate on Tuesday passed a bill criminalizing gay marriage, which it said was “against all religious morals.”
The bill, which needs to be passed by the House of Representatives and signed by President Goodluck Jonathan before becoming law, also introduces a 10-year jail sentence for gay couples who break the ban.
The move is another blow for the minority group in Africa’s most populous nation, where homosexuality is technically illegal.
The bill, which had been under consideration by the Senate since 2006, marks the first time that the government has made its position clear on same-sex marriage.
Despite the growing presence of gay rights groups in Abuja and Lagos, gay marriage has always been a very rare phenomenon in conservative Nigeria.
Same-sex relations are theoretically punishable by death by stoning in the country’s 12 predominately Muslim states that have adopted Shariah law. Elsewhere in Nigeria, homosexuality is seen as taboo. No rights groups have publicly protested the bill.
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