Gay Marriage: Nigerian Lawyers React, Clerics Kick

Gay MarriageReactions have continued to trail the recent judgment by the US Supreme Court, which provides same-sex couples the constitutional right to marry, thereby handing a historic triumph to the American gay rights movement.

The court ruled 5-4 that the Constitution’s guarantees of due process and equal protection under the law mean that states cannot ban same-sex marriages.

Though the historic ruling, which was the culmination of decades of litigation and activism, triggered jubilations and tearful hugs from same-sex couples in the United States, it has continued to receive condemnation from Nigerian clerics, as well as senior lawyers.

Speaking separately to The Guardian on the incident, the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, His Grace, Most Rev. (Dr.) Alfred Adewale Martins, the Executive Secretary/CEO Muslim Ummah of Southwest Nigeria (MUSWEN), the umbrella body for all Muslim organisations and institutions in the Southwest, Professor Dawud O. S. Noibi, the General Secretary of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Dr. Musa Asake, and Primate of the African Church/President, Christian Council of Nigeria, His Grace, Most Revd. Emmanuel Josiah Udofia, condemned the ruling, describing it as an unfortunate situation.

“I think it’s a very unfortunate one because in many ways, it is trying to upturn the definition of marriage that both nature and Scripture have given to us since the beginning of time.

It is a natural disposition for people that are going into marriage; it is always a man and a woman. So, this attempt to redefine marriage is a breach of natural law and the laws of God that we have in the Scriptures,” Bishop Martins said.

The Archbishop, who berated the US Supreme Court for giving a ruling that is capable of damaging family values said, “it is very unfortunate that the Supreme Court has given that kind of judgment and that means you begin to denigrate on marriage and its values.

On the long run, it will have an effect on the society as a whole,” he said. In his reaction, Professor Dawud Noibi said, “we human beings are not in control of deciding if people of same sex should be married; our creator who made us two different sexes is wiser than we are.

The very first man Adam had a mate, who was a woman and God said that he did that because he wanted human beings to increase in number so that most of them will inhabit the earth for the purpose of fulfilling God’s own purpose.

It is said that people of the same sex who are married cannot produce children and if the people of the world obey this policy decision, the consequences is that our species are going to be beyond our imagination,” he said. The General Secretary of CAN, Dr. Musa Asake, in his reaction, said the original creation by God was man and a woman and not man and man or woman and woman.

“Since they have done that, it is very unfortunate because it is against God’s order of creation which is a man and a woman. God had the right to have created a man and a man but instead it was a man and a woman; anything against that is not right.”

While urging families to keep to their moral standards, Asake said, “nobody should go towards that direction and families should protect their children from getting them into this law decision. Every family should keep to their own laws of marriage.

Our politicians should be careful where there are taken us to; families should stand up and protect their own.” Condemning the ruling, the Primate of the African Church, His Grace, Most Rev. Emmanuel Udofia, said, “what the US has done is in violation from the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Human beings were created in the image of God. God created man and saw that it was not good for him to be alone, so, He made a woman for him; He did not make a man. God did not make a woman for a woman, so, for any government to legalise a system whereby a man marries a man, is total deviation from the word of God.”

Giving legal interpretation to the judgment, Awa Kalu (SAN) noted that, though the decision may be morally right in the United States of America, it is against the African culture and tradition. “As a Nigerian and an African, I do not believe in man to man or woman to woman. I believe in the original purpose of creation, which is a man to woman.

I do not know the grounds upon which the American Supreme Court based its decision, but on morality grounds, I do not support the decision. I know that ordinarily, domestic law in our country has forbid man to man; it’s criminal in our country. So whether man to man is an ideology that a future generation would succumb to, I do not know.

But as the law is now, it won’t be a decision of the Supreme Court; it would be something the legislature will look at.”   For Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), every country has its own culture. “There’s American culture and I think for Americans, it is alright.

That’s their culture because they believe its part of their human rights. I think it has to differ from culture to culture; the Nigerian culture is the very opposite.

For instance, if the Supreme Court were to decide that in this country, of course, I would oppose it vigorously.

But since American Supreme Court decides that, I think we should be tolerant enough to accept what other people’s culture entails,” he said. As for the United States mounting pressure for other nations to adopt that, “it would be totally unacceptable; it would amount to imposition.

Their lifestyle and culture is something that is totally contrary from ours. Such would be oppressive and it would be resisted,” he insisted.

Another senior legal practitioners Sebastine Hon (SAN) said the ruling is against the constitution of the United States. “That decision is wrong in my own humble opinion.

The American constitution does not even guarantee the right of man marrying a man or women marrying women. By no stretch of imagination should that decision be justified.

The supreme court of the USA supposed to be the moral compass of the USA and conscience of the nation. All the reasons advanced for justifying gay marriages are highly immoral, sinful and unjustifiable in a democratic society.”

On the grounds that gay partners can adopt children and therefore live a normal family life, Hon said, “that argument is flawed for two reasons.

One, it doesn’t take into account the right of the child being adopted. If such child were to be an adult, he would have formed his opinion as to whether he would like to live with such family.

The rights of the child are being infringed upon just because of some callous adults that come into an unholy union.” Secondly, “the power to procreate which comes from God has been truncated. If those gay partners were not procreated through the normal way, they wouldn’t be human beings today.

So, why would they now after enjoying procreation designed by God stamp logic on its head and say that since they are adults, they can force everybody to agree that it is normal for them to come together even if they are not going to procreate? So, constitutionally, naturally, legally, spiritually and even culturally, that decision will never be upheld as having been sound with due respect with the judges of the Supreme Court of the USA,” he said.

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  • haske


  • Eze Epraim

    simple positive and positive can not produce light the same negative pluse negative can not also produce light, the truth is simple American is progressing because they put GOD first by that word in GOD we trust, BUT now they are saying GOD we don,t need u any more , what happen to the people of sudom will come to them if they fail to repent

  • david

    The book of Genesis makes is amply clear that God made eve out of Adam. And when Adam saw eve, he responded positively to what God had made. Marriage is between a man and a woman. We read about the destruction of sodom and Gomorrah in the scriptures, when God judged that city with hail and brimstone.
    Anything apart from what has been ordained by God is SIN. and God will judge the sinner. Today is the day of grace, and so God is patiently waiting for sinners to repent. There will be a day of reckoning. The scripture says EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO THE LORD JESUS. We must strongly condemn gay marraiges as this relationship is against the word of God and we Christians deplore this just because the Bible says it is Sin.

  • bowynah

    That civilised society is trying to bring back Sodom and Gomorrah . they are contempting God and they should be ready for consequences.

  • NdiliMfumu

    The arguments made here above by certain Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) were all made by the respondents in the US Supreme Court case of Obergefell v. Hodges and the same-sex marriage cases consolidated there. And they were DEFEATED.

    In brief, marriage is about the union of the marital partners and NOT about procreation. Marriage comes about and is recognized for the benefit of the marital partners, whether or not they have or ever intend to have any children. The marriage of a man and a woman is just as valid in the eyes of the law, whether it is accompanied by ten children or precisely none !

    Further, it is decidedly UNTRUE that LGBTQ people do not procreate: We do! It is worth remembering that 75% of LGBTQ people are bisexual. These may freely procreate “the old fashioned way”. The rest may procreate by using any number of artificial methods, e.g., in-vitro fertilization, artificial insemination and “surrogacy”.

    The admonition that marriage must be for heterosexuals only, because only heterosexuals can procreate by unassisted vaginal intercourse is both wrong on the facts (BISEXUALs can procreate this way, as well), and on the merits: It represents a tautology and proves nothing.

    More to the point, we have to ask, what is the nature of the right to marry ? From where does it spring?

    Many in Nigeria would like to believe that all human rights spring from some divine intervention. Not so! It is a well-established fact that humanity has been present on this Earth for some 200,000 years, but governments have only been present for the past 6,500 years (having first begun in ancient Sumeria c. 4,500 BCE), and religion has only been around for about 5,000 years (having begun much later in the ancient Sumerian culture, c. 3,000 BCE). There is strong archeological evidence that Mankind has been uniting, one with another, since the time we first painted pictures of daily life on the walls of caves at Cro-Magnon, and dropped statuettes of our favorite goddesses on German lake shores, some 44,000 years ago. Certainly, interpersonal bonding and the sexual activity that goes with it are FAR MORE ANCIENT than any government, and more ancient, too, than any religion.

    Thus, marriage came first, then government and then religion. Not the other way around.

    The notion that marriage should be driven purely by religious concerns is ridiculous. Nigerians are very religious, even more religious than Americans. Which is really hard for Americans to understand, that anyone could be more religious than we are. But even in Nigeria, the right to marry is NOT conditioned on being a member of any one religious order or the other. It is quite possible in Nigeria to be married without appeal to any religion at all.

    This arises from the fact that, everywhere throughout the world, the State has a vested interest in seeing a couple get married: It needs to register that marriage, in order to know where and how to deliver any of the economic benefits of marriage (e.g., differential tax rates, social support and the like). And it needs to suppress fraud in marriage, as well as to register the marital assets (particularly, land holdings). And the State is naturally interested in every marriage, because promoting a happily married life tends to lead to less poverty, indolence, vagrancy and the like, which serve only to burden the State in the absence of marriage.

    Indeed, it is easy enough to say that YOUR religion should not in any way condition MY MARRIAGE.

    In order to make that statement true, the State and the Nigerian Federal Government must not base their marriage laws on religious precepts, but on civil rights and the freedoms of the individual.

    Finally, as to the issue of populating the world, this is clearly a red herring: The world has already more than 7.23 BN people. Nigeria’s 176 MN are projected to grow to 800 MN within the next 50 years, as a result of the unbridled and unrestrained tendency of Nigerian men to engage Nigerian women in making babies. The average age in Nigeria, today, is only 17.2 years ! It is a country of CHILDREN being led by a small and vanishing coterie of old men (and a few women).

    When all these children grow up in the next 10 – 15 years, they will find a country locked in a cycle of poverty, joblessness, ever-increasing congestion and hunger, all because of the inability of their parents to control their reproduction and because of societal pressure to “be fruitful and multiply.” In short, there is no reason at all to fear that, because LGBTQ people — a natural minority of only 20% of all people — procreate at a much lower rate than heterosexuals, then, liberating LGBTQ people to be and do as they are naturally inclined to do would somehow “damage” or “impair” the human race.

    Quite the contrary: Nigeria would do much better to spend a lot less time creating all those babies and much more time organizing its own economy and its future. Freeing the LGBTQ minority will make precisely NO CHANGE in that prospect. Only freeing the heterosexuals from the onus to constantly reproduce would do that.

    But ALL sexual orientation is the product of genetic and congenital factors, fixed at birth and immutable thereafter. Freeing the LGBTQ minority will not make any change in this, since straights cannot be “seduced” or “beguiled” into being gay, and neither can LGBTQ people be forced into becoming heterosexual. It is simple to deny reality to think otherwise.

    Nigeria is just beginning to have a real discussion about these issues. It has sadly suppressed them for far too long. It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee ! The discussion has been going on in the West for the last 50 years. Time for that discussion to be had in Nigeria, so as to free the 34 million Nigerians who are LGBTQ.