The Case of Homosexuality

By Chris Ihidero, Akin Adesokan, Deji Toye, Damola Awoyokun, Rotimi Babatunde, Afolabi Akindolire

The health of any civilization, of every society is determined by the way it treats any of its minorities: the unborn, the physically challenged, the sick, the prisoners, the aged, the pensioners, the ethnic and religious minorities, the nonconformists, and the sexually different.

We condemn in strong terms the January 18, 2006 move by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) setting a bill that would criminalize homosexuality, seeking a five-year jail term on any person who “is involved in the registration of gay clubs, societies and organization,” or “goes through the ceremony of marriage with a person of the same sex.” To underscore its fanatical drive, the bill also extends the jail term to anyone who “performs, witnesses, aids or abets the ceremony of same sex marriage.” This is equivalent to arrant nonsense.

Nigeria is a secular state in which the church, mosque and shrine must always be kept separate from state affairs, and more, as reason requires, the Honourable Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of the Federation should have made the foundation for the bill responsible to the current state of scientific scholarship rather than depend on Koranic and Biblical sources.

We are grateful to science for clearing some of the fogs ensured by stark ignorance yet maintained and dignified by religion especially in the areas of astronomy, genetics, medical science, psychology and psychoanalysis, evolution, pharmaceutics, pharmacology, etc which religion itself has benefited from immensely.

We are of the view that science must listen to religion through morality and ethics, and that religion must listen always to science. Homosexuality in itself is not an evil. It does not injure the social order, hence it does not require criminalization. It is our crude response to and violence on its practitioners that upset and injure the social order and therefore call for criminalization. Attempts in history to impose a narrow worldview on a society of diverse peoples, or force an illusion of superior morality through legislation have always led to sorrow, tears and blood.

Let us not forget the perspectives of Hitler’s Auschwitz and Dachau, the Spanish Inquisition, the case of Galileo, the bloedmenging in apartheid South Africa and the recent public burning of an alleged strange-looking child in Benin and the alleged strange-behaving child in Lagos. Homosexuals: gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transsexuals in Nigeria are in a minority. They like any other citizens have human rights and need love, tolerance, freedom, dignity and state protection.

Chris Ihidero, Akin Adesokan, Deji Toye, Damola Awoyokun, Rotimi Babatunde, Afolabi Akindolire are Nigerian writers resident in different parts of the world.