Monday, July 31, 2017
From Pink News:
Over 40 men were arrested in Nigeria over the weekend for performing “homosexual acts”.
Following a police raid in Lagos state at a hotel on Saturday, it is believed that 42 men were arrested.
The men, who are accused of homosexuality, are due to appear in court today.
If found to be guilty, they could face up to 14 years in jail.
Witnesses of the arrest who live in the local area
claimed that the hotel was known to “harbor homosexuals”.
LGBT people in the country face unprecedented homophobia.
It has been illegal to be gay in Nigeria for a long time, but a 2013 law increased penalties and included same-sex unions as well as gay sex in what is criminalized .
Under the law, people who enter any form of same-sex union are liable for 14 years’ imprisonment, while people who “witness, abet and aids the solemnization of a same sex marriage or civil union” can face up to 10 years in jail.
A writer in the country was allegedly kidnapped for writing about queer phobia last month.
Chibuihe Obi had published an essay talking about his own experience with discrimination.
It’s believed that he was kidnapped by “homophobic thieves” who are thought to target LGBT writers who they “hunt down and kill”.
Obi was later returned following an outcry.
Earlier this year 53 people faced criminal charges as police claimed that they had attended a same-sex wedding.
45 of those jumped bail and warrants were put out for their arrest.
Defense lawyer Yunusa Umar said most of the accused were students, and claimed they had been celebrating a birthday and not a same-sex union.
There is a strong social taboo around homosexuality in Nigeria, driven by a strong anti-LGBT evangelical Christian movement in the south and the spread of hardline Islam in the north.
Human rights groups say the 2013 Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act has been exploited to target the LGBT community.
A recent Human Rights Watch report stated: “While existing legislation already criminalizes consensual same-sex conduct in Nigeria, the report found that the SSMPA, in many ways, officially authorizes abuses against LGBT people, effectively making a bad situation worse.
“The passage of the SSMPA was immediately followed by extensive media reports of high levels of violence, including mob attacks and extortion against LGBT people.
Sunday, July 30, 2017
Friday, July 28, 2017
Leading anti-gay Christian campaigner Tony Perkins sparked rumors President Trump will move forward on ‘religious freedom’ in a radio show yesterday.
Now Human Rights Campaign has stated they are expecting Trump to act ‘imminently’ and as early as next week.
If he does, his polices have been widely predicted to be designed to allow Christians to openly discriminate against LGBT people.
Family Research Council Tony Perkins predicted Trump will follow up on the so far muted religious freedom executive order, The Washington Blade reported.
On the Washington Watch weekly radio broadcast produced by the organization, Perkins said:
‘By the way, stand by next week. You’re going to see some follow-up to the president’s executive order on religious liberty.
‘The next phase of that is going to be coming about and I think it is going to be very instructive.
‘We are going to see government agencies basically put on notice that they have to respect religious freedom. And that is not just the ability to believe, it is the free exercise of religion.’
HRC stated: ‘We can’t say how much Perkins is listened to but this administration gives him a much louder voice than ever before.’
The Trump administration has made religious freedom a priority. Vice President Mike Pence has highlighted that violence against Christians is of particular prominence.
Perkins also praised Trump for nominating anti-gay Sam Brownback as Religious Freedom Ambassador.
He describes the Governor as ‘a man of strong Christian faith who takes this issue seriously.’
Perkins added: ‘We applaud the president’s choice and look forward to a new day for religious liberty under his leadership.’
If the Senate confirms Gov Brownback’s nomination, the role will be filled long before similar jobs. The ambassadorships for HIV, War Crimes and Women remain empty.
According to the Partnership for Public, Trump’s administration has been slow to fill a range of jobs in the administration.
By this point in the Obama and Bush administration had confirmed 203 key roles, in comparison to just 50 for Trump.
The 1998 act that created Gov. Brownback’s role was not supposed to be used to harm other freedoms. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) protects minority religious groups’ constitutional right to freely exercise their beliefs.
The US Department of State sets out:
‘The Office of International Religious Freedom has the mission of promoting religious freedom as a core objective of U.S. foreign policy.’
However, increasingly law makers have been using it as a basis to infringe on LGBT rights.
In 2015, Brownback signed an executive order in his state of Kansas prohibiting state government from taking action against religious organizations.
The order aimed to protect religious organizations providing adoption services from having to place children with gay couples.
Responding to the radio show Kate Ellis, president and CEO of LGBT organization GLAAD said:
‘The ‘religious exemptions’ laws that groups like the Family Research Council are successfully pushing fly in the face of real American values and open LGBTQ people and our children up to discrimination.’
The ACLU said: ‘Gov Brownback’s view of “religious freedom” has meant issuing a license to discriminate against others, especially against LGBT Kansans.’
American Human Rights organizations including Human Rights Watch, are currently supporting an amendment to the Religious Freedom Act titled ‘Do Not Harm.’
Introduced to the by Congressmen Joe Kennedy and Bobby Scot it will state the 1998 RFRA bill is designed to protect religious freedom. Crucially, also stating that it should not be inflicting harm on other people.
The ACLU said: ‘The Do No Harm Act would place much-needed limitations on RFRA. It could no longer justify discrimination, denial of health care, or other harms.’
First created in 1998, the ambassador role is intended to promote ‘religious freedom as a core objective of U.S. foreign policy,’ according to the US State Department.
Brownback has long been an advocate for religious freedom at the expense of the LGBT community. In 2016, he signed the Campus Religious Freedom Bill, which allows religious student groups to block membership based on ‘religious beliefs’. This includes discriminating against LGBT students from joining.
Previously, he signed laws protecting clergy who do not participate in same-sex marriages, removed protections for LGBT state employees, and attended an anti-marriage equality rally.
LGBT policy in Kansas is so bad under Brownback that California banned state-funded and sponsored travel to the state, along with North Carolina, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
Brownback tweeted about his new role Wednesday night.
Several of Brownback’s colleagues, primarily Republicans, expressed support for his nomination, including Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran. Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle hailed Brownback as a ‘good fit’ for the position.Religious Freedom is the first freedom. The choice of what you do with your own soul. I am honored to serve such an important cause. -SDB
However, other politicians and groups oppose the nomination.
Calling him ‘the most unpopular governor in America,’ Kansas Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley tweeted the following statement:
House Minority Leader Jim Ward, a Democrat, said Brownback ‘left a lot of carnage and destruction,’ while Rep. Kathy Wolfe Moore, a Kansas City Democrat, said ‘the last seven years have been anything but successful’.
Equality Kansas, a group with a mission to end discrimination, urges the Senate to oppose his nomination. They released a statement, saying: ‘We do not wish him upon the world.’