A Nigerian court last week delayed its ruling, for the second time, on a case that aims to repeal the country's anti-gay law, Gay Star News reports.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act into law in January. The measure, also known as the "Jail the Gays" bill, would ban gay marriage in addition to punishing same-sex couples who hold a wedding ceremony with 14-years in jail. Guests who attend the ceremony would get 10 years in jail. Additionally, under the measure, anyone who knows a gay person must report them to the government or they could be slammed with a five-year jail sentence.
Joseph Teriah Ebah, a straight LGBT activist, sued Nigeria's government because he said the measure violates the human rights of the country's LGBT community, according to the constitution.
Nigeria's constitution states human rights claims have to be handled within 90-days - this means the anti-gay bill case should have been ruled by June 20 instead of being postponed until Sept. 25 and now until Oct. 21.
"The judgment is very important for all Nigerians, not only the LGBTI community," Elizabeth Funke Obisanya, a Nigerian LGBT filmmaker, told Gay Star News. "From the LGBTI community point of view, if it is repealed it would mean that the community would no longer be persona non grata but would be accepted back into Nigerian daily lives. Those that suffer from HIV can go and get treatment, people can carry on with their normal every day lives without fear or intimidation and without denying who they are.
"The main opponent in the Nigerian case is the 'Christian' church," she continued. "As you know Nigeria has a large 'Christian' community there and their influence is huge even if it is the wrong influence. There are already reports that some Churches would appeal the ruling if it was repealed."
From our media partner EDGE