But Nigerian Senate President David Mark has maintained that the bill prohibiting same-sex marriage would be passed. According to a statement issued by Mark’s Chief Press Secretary Paul Mumeh, the Senate President told the Catholic faithful and guests at a recent civic reception in honour of John Cardinal Olorunfemi Onaiyekan in Abuja that despite the pressure from some quarters, the law banning same-sex marriage will be enacted.
Mark was quoted by Mumeh to have said: “ 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 (same-sex marriage).
“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.”
An overwhelming number of religious and socio-cultural groups across Nigeria has been unequivocal in their opposition to same-sex marriage which some foreign countries are openly urging Nigeria to accept.
Such opponents include Christian denominations as well as Muslim groups all of which have voiced their rejection of the pressure from some sections of the international community for Nigeria to change its stance. Among them is the Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh who has repeatedly opposed the move, saying same-sex marriage is not biblical and therefore unacceptable.
However, Nigerian Humanist human rights activist Leo Igwe, who is a supporter of the UK gay Humanist charity the Pink Triangle Trust, said: “The statements made by David Mark that the ban on same sex marriage was irrevocable are reprehensible. They are a clear demonstration of homophobia and show a lack of appreciation of the humane moral values of the contemporary world. He has used the civic reception of John Cardinal Olorunfemi Onaiyekan to fan the flames of hatred and persecution of a sexual minority and to promote his skewed sense of decency. They are inconsistent with the constitutional role of a Senate President. They are also another clear indication of how the Senate and the church in Nigeria are working together in prosecuting a crusade against gay people.
Instead of supporting the ban on same sex marriage, the Senate and the Government of Nigeria as a whole should make a commitment to promoting and protecting the universal human rights of everyone, whatever their race, ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, religion or belief, even when such commitment conflicts with the teachings of religion.”