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Mark Amaza: Senator Mark’s decent society: May the gays be damned


Mark Amaza: Senator Mark’s decent society: May the gays be damned

by Mark Amaza

I think Nigerians owe the Senate a great deal of appreciation for showing us the way to be a decent society.

We live in interesting times in Nigeria. Very interesting times, I tell you. About a year ago, the Senate passed a bill that not only outlawed and criminalized same-sex marriage and the very act of homosexuality, but witnessing the act and marriage was made a crime.

Quite expectedly, the senate’s move made homosexuality a hotly debated topic.

On one side were the ‘moral and religious’, who believed that Nigeria should not allow these ‘depraved’ gays to ruin our saintly way of life. On the other side was the minority who felt that the bill was an intrusion into the lives of private citizens by government and an attempt to legalize homophobia.

I belonged to the second group.

Sadly, even many educated Nigerians I expected to know better supported the bill. It did not matter to them that the Nigerian Common Law expressly defines marriage as solely “between a man and a woman.” I guess the statement was not clear enough that it also meant that marriage between two men or two women had been banned ab initio.

Neither did it matter to them that no one was demanding same-sex marriage. In fact, Nigerian gays did not even have a public face, so why all the energy expended pursuing the matter?

Anyway, like all matters Nigerian, the issue died, especially as the House of Representatives is yet to pass the bill and the President yet to sign it into law. Or so we thought.

On Sunday, the Senate President David Mark spoke at a reception to celebrate the elevation of Archbishop John Onaiyekan into the College of Cardinals. There would be no going back on criminalizing same-sex marriage, said Mark, as the Senate would not allow such acts invade the Nigerian culture.

These were his words:

“……..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. 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…

Wait a minute!! So for the Nigerian society to show decency to the rest of the world, all it has to do is to criminalize the practice of homosexuality and gay marriage? Interesting assertion.

Maybe we should ask the Senate President some questions:

Wouldn’t pruning down the obscene salaries and allowances of the National Assembly, which he heads, from consuming 25% of our budget be a better sign of decency?

How about fighting corruption and improving our corruption rating from being the 37th most corrupt country to a much more acceptable ranking out of the 173 countries surveyed by Transparency International? Surely, this is a better way of showing our decency as a country.

More curious is the fact out of the 11 countries where same-sex marriage is legal, the most corrupt of them, according to Transparency International is South Africa, ranked as the 104th most corrupt country, a far cry from Nigeria’s 37th.

So does it mean that these countries where things work, have very low levels of corruption and their legislators are not insanely paid, but have legalized same-sex marriages are indecent?

I think Nigerians owe the Senate a great deal of appreciation for showing us the way to be a decent society.

So on behalf of all Nigerians, thank you Senator David Mark, for discovering that the route to being a decent society was to simply criminalize homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

Wonder why we never thought of this before.

In between studying for a degree in Environmental Management from the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, and playing Football Manager, Amaza manages to find time to run a small business consulting firm focusing on strategy, innovation and branding, MINDcapital, and contributing to his blog as well as numerous other sites including Nigerians Talk and His passions are politics, business, youth development, entrepreneurship, and education, Nigeria in general and Northern Nigeria in particular. He describes his political ideology as 'reformist.' Twitter: @amasonic

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