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The Homosexual Question

Before I start this, let me fully disclose that I am first of all, a Christian. Then a Catholic. So even though I’ve put quite an effort into sounding objective about this, some might read prejudice in my words. Oh well. Why am I writing this? Human history is at a fragile point where major decisions are being taken on issues that define the society we’re going to pass on to our children, and their children. I think it’s important that we pass onto our children values that affirm their humanity and do not deform their consciences. And so if there is a debate going on, I owe it to posterity to make my voice heard.

To my knowledge, I do not have gay friends. Or family. Or co-workers. Or neighbours. To. My. Knowledge. It’s important that I emphasize this: To My Knowledge. Because it brings up an issue I’d like to address. Do I have a right/duty/obligation to know the orientation of the people around me? No. I don’t. If they choose to share this information, fine. If not, I really can’t be bothered.

That said, I’d like to address the bill being read at the National Assembly which seeks to prohibit same-sex marriages. A number of social media activists have denounced it. Some of their points are ludicrous, sha. We do not take our cues from America. That homosexuals may marry in America does not mean they MUST marry in Nigeria. But there are some valid points: freedom of association, for one and freedom from persecution. I know nothing about this bill save what I read in the Daily Times newspaper. And what I gather is that it seeks to punish married gay couples with 3 years imprisonment, and witnesses to gay unions with 5 years imprisonment.

Married gay couples. Married. Who married them? Does anyone, minister, cleric or magistrate, marry gay couples in Nigeria at the moment? I’d really appreciate an answer.

Let’s set up a hypothetical situation here. Bisi and Joke are homosexual. They meet, like each other and initiate a sexual relationship. (I assume that they aren’t waiting till marriage to consummate. Would that even be possible?) They “go steady” for awhile. And then decide to rent a flat in town, move in together, buy furniture together, the works.

There is absolutely nothing stopping them from doing this. Is there? Let’s take this further. They decide that Joke should change her last name to Bisi’s. Joke goes to court, swears an affidavit and then puts an ad in the papers. They’re now both Joke and Bisi Lagbaja. Perhaps, they’ll throw a house-warming party, and invite their friends. Maybe, they’ll decide to make a mutual commitment of fidelity to each other in front of their guests. They go to a lawyer and will all of their property to each other. They live in their flat together and grow old in each other’s arms. The End.

All of this is quite possible in Nigeria at the moment. Right? So it begs the questions: Why do gay couples wish to be joined in matrimony? What will change about their relationship if they get married? What difference does a marriage license, a piece of paper, make to either of them?

I believe in fairness, I believe in understanding the other person. And because I’m a Christian, I believe in not judging others, in loving the sinner but hating the sin. I believe homosexuality is a sin, the same way I believe lying, adultery and fornication are sins. It would infringe on my right to freedom of conscience if anyone tried to force me to say/do otherwise. But I will not be a part of witch-hunting, of persecution, of hatred, or of bigotry. I think the full details of the bill should be given to the public so we can begin to understand what exactly is going on, if the government is within its jurisdiction to impose these restrictions and where we should draw the line. God help us all.

0 Comments

  1. “Married gay couples. Married. Who married them? Does anyone, minister, cleric or magistrate, marry gay couples in Nigeria at the moment? I’d really appreciate an answer.”

    Ask then oh!!! maybe they witnessed one before. Good one girl.

  2. of all the salient issues that should be addressed in the nation, our “irrepresentatives” would rather spend public funds discussing the most trivial they can lay hands on….Homosexuality might be polarizing issue in other countries…but i think we have bigger fish to fry

  3. Ablaze4God says

    great piece ose……i’m totally against gay marraiges or even homosexuals for that matter….Lord help us!

  4. I support the Senate’s stand on it.. If anyone chooses to to engage in homosexuality, it is their choice but seeking “legality” of any such union should remain totally unacceptable.

  5. Taking D Mickey says

    You write: “All of this is quite possible in Nigeria at the moment. Right? So it begs the questions: Why do gay couples wish to be joined in matrimony? What will change about their relationship if they get married? What difference does a marriage license, a piece of paper, make to either of them?”

    Let’s turn this on its head, shall we? Why do heterosexual people seek a “marriage license, a piece of paper”? What difference does the piece of paper make to either of them? Why do heterosexual couples wish to be joined in matrimony? What changes about their relationship if they get married?

    If you can answer those questions without quoting from a religious text (as not all of us are religious), then perhaps you will understand the motivation for gay people to fight for the right to get married.

    Here’s a hint: perhaps the reasons gay people seek matrimony are indistinguishable from the reasons heterosexual people seek matrimony (whatever those reason are – I don’t know, I’m not married myself), the license, the trip to the registry, the accompanying owambe, etc.

    If anyone believes in heterosexual matrimony, how is it any different from homosexual matrimony (again, please do not quote any religious text because not all of us believe in the same religion – my religion, for example, does not forbid homosexuality).

    To preempt any accusations, I am not gay myself. I am just an unflinchingly logical Nigerian woman who has not heard a logical reason for gay people not to get married. What I typically hear are arguments from the Bible/(insert religious text here) – I’ve been told the Bible also bans shellfish. I happen to belong to a religion that says nothing about gays and doesn’t prohibit gays from getting married.

    So what is the issue with gays getting married again?

    • Dear Miss,
      Let me begin by listing the reasons for marriage as I understand it.
      For companionship: Yes, we all want that person that will be with us and in our corner no matter what life and other people throw in our way. At the moment, I believe homosexual partners can provide this? Yes.
      For sexual fulfillment of both partners. Apparently, even unmarried couples and gays have this one covered.
      But the true reason and the one the society recognises as germane to its survival is procreation and raising children. This is the reason so many benefits are attached to marriage by law, such as, tax deductibility of child-rearing costs, insurance from legal jeopardy from your partner in a third party lawsuit e.t.c. Every society knows that the moment the number of births dip below the number of deaths, its demise is imminent except it takes steps to balance the population which has given rise to the US visa lottery and the very generous maternity benefits in European countries. Studies have shown that raising children in a stable home helps them to become better-adjusted members of society. While this may apply to gay couples, no gay couple at present can have children without aid/recourse to the other sex or adoption. So why should the benefits of marriage be extended to a union that does not benefit society according to law?

      • Taking D Mickey says

        Dear ogirl,

        You wrote: “no gay couple at present can have children without aid/recourse to the other sex or adoption”. Guess what, 1 in 6 women will have difficulty getting pregnant and up to 1 in 100 will have difficulty carrying a pregnancy to term (I just read these stats on the BBC today). Why do I bring them up, you ask?

        Many heterosexual couples (just like their gay counterparts), cannot procreate without resorting to a) science (in the form of IVF, fertility enhancements, etc) and/or b) adoption and/or c) surrogacy. If it’s fine for the heterosexuals to adopt or pay off a surrogate, why is it not fine for the homosexuals? If a heterosexual couple that is unable to procreate naturally resorts to surrogacy or adoption and society accepts this as their child, why should a homosexual couple (also unable to procreate naturally) not be allowed to do this? Surely it’s within their rights as human beings.

        You also write “But the true reason (edit: for marriage) and the one the society recognises as germane to its survival is procreation and raising children…so why should the benefits of marriage be extended to a union that does not benefit society according to law?”

        Doubtless procreation is necessary for mankind’s survival.
        However, procreation outside of heterosexual wedlock is incredibly common – and becoming more and more acceptable in societies around the world. “Society”, (at best a word with a nebulous definition – but let’s not go there), is not an unflinching, unyielding stricture. Five decades ago, it was the norm in most “societies” for couples to get married before having kids. Today, the number of kids born out of wedlock continues to rise in practically every “society” out there (damn the consequences, look first at the facts). Here is a newsflash that may shock you. Procreation and raising children are not contingent upon a piece of paper signed by some Imam or Alfa that binds a man to his wife – reproduction will happen with or without heterosexual marriage, with or without the legal (and social) recognition afforded heterosexual marriage. Mankind will proceed even if we destroyed the institution of marriage tomorrow – as long as our hormones remain in place.

        Furthermore, gay couples can (and often do) choose to have kids of their own – yes, by enlisting the help of other people. But if it’s an agreement between consenting adults, where is the robbery? What is the crime? What is the shame? Gay men may choose a surrogate mother and impregnate her (there are ways of doing this without actually having sex) and lesbian women may purchase sperm from sperm donors (something many heterosexual women do in the event they reach a certain age and don’t have a husband to settle down with – should they, too, be banned from doing this?). What’s to stop the married suburban house-wife soccer mom from carrying a baby for a gay couple and getting paid megabucks for this? She’s an adult, there is demand for surrogate mothers and she chooses to meet this demand. No crimes committed by anyone – smiles all around and two proud (very gay!) fathers waiting to raise their little one. Alas, procreation lives on!!!

        Suggesting we must preserve marriage as a union between only heterosexuals so we can procreate rests on the premise that we cannot procreate without heterosexual marriage. We can. We do. We have been doing so for centuries. And we will continue to do so. Try another tack – that dog don’t hunt.

        The gay agenda will win the day – some countries like Nigeria will have to be dragged (kicking and screaming) into the light, but it will happen – surely, inevitably…

    • Hi, Taking the Mickey.

      “Why do heterosexual people seek a “marriage license, a piece of paper”? What difference does the piece of paper make to either of them? Why do heterosexual couples wish to be joined in matrimony? What changes about their relationship if they get married?”

      I can’t speak for all the other heterosexuals out there, but I will outline the reasons I want to get married.
      1. Intimacy. I intend to remain a virgin till I marry and so I can only get intimate after I’m married. So this is what will change about my relationship with the other party, we get to be intimate.
      2. Life long companionship. Again, because I’m Catholic, I can’t just move in with someone.
      3. Procreation. I’d like to have children, and precisely because I will not be having sex before marriage, I need to marry to have them.

      “Here’s a hint: perhaps the reasons gay people seek matrimony are indistinguishable from the reasons heterosexual people seek matrimony (whatever those reason are – I don’t know, I’m not married myself), the license, the trip to the registry, the accompanying owambe, etc.”

      The license again. What does the license mean? Accompanying owambe? Nah. This doesn’t seem like a strong enough reason to commit your entire life to someone. Owambe?

      “I am not gay myself. I am just an unflinchingly logical Nigerian woman who has not heard a logical reason for gay people not to get married.”
      I too am a logical Christian who would like to hear from a gay person why they’d like to get married. I want to be convinced.

      • Taking D Mickey says

        Osemhen,

        Thank you for the response.

        I will wait for a gay person to come to this thread to express their thoughts on why they want to get married.

        The three reasons you mentioned for wanting to get married (intimacy, life-long companionship and procreation) are all things that gay marriages can (and do already!) provide. committed gay couples are intimate. They provide life-long companionship, and if they choose, they can procreate and even have biological children – through sperm-donors and IVF (which works around the issue of sex outside marriage) or surrogate mothers (who can be artificially inseminated with sperm from one of the gay men). Science saves the day yet again!

        So, again, what would be the difference between your marriage (to a man) and that of two men who are madly in love with each other, are intimate, provide life-long companionship and procreate or adopt? I, too, want to be convinced of what the differences you see are. Would a heterosexual couple that’s unable to have kids be less than kosher because they have to adopt (or use a surrogate)? If your answer to that question is no, then what’s wrong with gay couples doing the same? If your answer is yes, then I’ll send 20 heterosexual couples who can’t conceive your way and ask you to look them in the eye and declare that their marriage is less than kosher because they are unable to procreate naturally.

        You mentioned that you don’t want to have sex outside of marriage, you want to remain a virgin until you get married, etc. I don’t know whether those have anything to do with your Catholic faith (you hinted as much in your post) – if they do, I can’t address them because I’m not Catholic myself, nor are most people on earth. If it is so important to you and your religion, then a good solution would be for you and practitioners of your religion not to marry gay people, but to also accept that there are people whose religion does not forbid gay marriage (mine does not forbid it, for example). If you are uncomfortable with gay marriage (and I’m not suggesting that you are), then don’t marry a gay person AND don’t impinge on the rights of others who want to marry gay people.

        As for how this affects homosexuals, gay people, too can share your views – they may choose not to have sex until they get married, they may choose to have kids, they may choose not to have affairs outside their marriage (yes, gay people typically have kids without having physical or emotional affairs outside marriage). Again – if you can set aside the religious prism through which many people tend to filter their lives and approach this logically – how is the portrait of a gay marriage different from the one of the marriage of your dreams that you painted?

        And one more thing that just occurred to me (and this is a general comment), if we are to place a ban on gay marriage (or to express discomfort at gay marriage) because procreation is the number one reason people get married, then surely we must place a ban on women who have had their ovaries destroyed as a result of chemotherapy and can thus not have kids. Because their union sure as hell won’t yield any kids…

        • “The three reasons you mentioned for wanting to get married (intimacy, life-long companionship and procreation) are all things that gay marriages can (and do already!) provide.”

          I agree that gay couples can enjoy intimacy & life-long companionship. My point is, they can enjoy them outside of marriage. They don’t need to be married to enjoy them. I, however, because of my belief system cannot.

          I agree that, thanks to science, gay couples can have and raise their own children. Thanks to science, not to the marriage license. See, this is my main problem. What do they need “marriage” for?

          You keep throwing up the procreation issue as the fulcrum of the issue at stake here. I’m not sure how to respond to that. I never said procreation was the main point of marriage. That would be to reduce humans to the level of breeding animals and would be unfair to sterile couples.

          “If it is so important to you and your religion, then a good solution would be for you and practitioners of your religion not to marry gay people, but to also accept that there are people whose religion does not forbid gay marriage (mine does not forbid it, for example).”

          Yes, the Catholic Church does not marry gay couples, and yes it accepts that other religions may think otherwise.

          A friend of mine expressed this opinion, and I quite agree: Gay marriages pervert time-honoured roles of family and society members, as well as gender roles and responsibilities, which are part of the things that keep societies together. Family values. If we must follow the cue of “modern societies” then let us also recognise this. Societies that have a devolved sense of family values have begun to fall apart. Begun, being the key word. If you will look up statistics, then look up the rate of divorce among children from not-quite-normal homes in the US. Look up the numbers on alcoholism, and substance abuse, and sex abuse. I don’t think we want the next generation of adults to be brought up in gay households, I really don’t think so.

          Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the matter but I must admit I’m still waiting to be convinced. It may be that my quest for justification is a futile one and that in the end this cannot be a legal issue but a moral one which each person will have to resolve on his/her own.

    • meenah says

      We have to quote a religious book or the other on heterosexual marriage,unfortunately 4you. Because we are religious people and our religions tell us we have 2get married to consummate our desires for the opposite sex,hence the trip to the registry and respective religious houses for a blessing from God and our friends serving as witness to these undertakings. But when people don’t believe in our religions or laws(cos nigerian law only recognises a marriage as a union between 2people of different sexes) then I don’t know why they need our religions or laws to recognise and legalise their associations.

  6. Taking D Mickey says

    Osemhen, Thank you for the response.

    I could keep going on and on and on about this, but I will not. So I won’t post after this. In fact I will stop reading the blog after this because I am going on the road shortly.

    BUT (this had to be included, sorry) – you mention that “gay-marriage perverts time-honored roles of family and society members, as well as gender roles and responsibilities, which are part of the things that keep societies together” .

    You know what else did/does those things? Women’s suffrage in the US (women voting and even – horror of horrors – running for office after centuries without the right to do so?), birth control pills (women having control over their own wombs and being able to choose who they sleep with and how often, after spending centuries worried about getting pregnant? Abomination!), and (this is my personal favorite) – desegregation in the American South, which reversed hundreds of years of injustice and denigration of blacks and reversed – wait for it – “time-honored roles of…society members” and eventually allowed a nation to enthrone its first black president!

    So perverting time-honored roles is not a bad thing. In fact, it can be a damn good thing if it’s on the side of justice!

    Anyway, I am not trying to convince you to become an advocate for gay marriage (because I don’t consider myself an advocate and because you have personal beliefs that don’t support this);

    What I really wanted to achieve was captured in your final statement, which is that this is a moral issue and should not be a legal one. Legal obstacles to gay marriage should be removed. Anyone whose moral compass frowns on gay marriage can choose NOT to indulge in it, and for those who find it kosher, legal barriers must be torn down. Moral standards must not be imposed on other people. If my personal/religious/moral beliefs forbid gay marriage, then I won’t be gay and I won’t hang out with gays. If, however, my personal/religious/moral beliefs do not, then I will hang out with gays, be merrily gay and live happily ever after! The law should get out of it entirely, which is what some Americans (like Ron Paul) have been advocating for years.

    Anyway, now that the British appear to be pegging developmental aid to better human rights for homosexuals, the writing may well be on the wall for a lot of poverty-stricken African countries with the most brutal laws against homosexuals (e.g. Uganda and Nigeria).

    • Hi ya.

      The US has a unique history, you’ll at least admit that their way of life and their history is different from ours. My Nigerian history might be wrong, but I don’t think we ever had female suffrage issues here. The slave trade didn’t exist from time immemorial, did it? Black slavery as we know it, started between the 1400s-1600s and the fact that it began in the first place, was the abomination. Slavery with the black man as the victim was not a “time-honoured tradition”.

      The good thing about being a sovereign state in our own right is that the British and the Americans can’t force us to do what we don’t want to. But we don’t need our arms to be bent to acknowledge justice for all. I do not think people should be imprisoned or hurt because of their sexual orientation, it’s most unfair. But gay marriage, no. It seems like a campaign to pervert an institution that is the very foundation of our society and until a gay person can establish just cause (which is the point of all I have been saying), then gay marriage shouldn’t be allowed.

      Have a good trip. And thank you, for taking time out to discuss this.

  7. Alads says

    Interesting post. While it is true that the law shouldn’t inter with moral issues like sexuality, we find that most laws have moral/ethical backings. The issue here is What exactly is defined as marriage? Who instituted marriage? Why? Who can truly say which is a lawful or unlawful union?
    Obviously, answering these questions is a look back at the records left us that have kept ‘Society’ sane up until recently.

  8. Anita Igberaese says

    Lovely write there.
    Controversial too. Just for arguments sake: why can’t they be married? What is it about marriage that makes it so hallowed and ‘Sacred’?
    Uhhh, for the record, too, I’m a born again christan and i take very seriously God commandment about marriage.
    My point, however, is this: it’s not so much about the practices and about what they do and how they do what they do. It’s about how it should have been. That being said, i believe a datum line is necessary; the datum line being what God would want.
    The bible clearly records, as to the issue of marriage, in Matt 19 that, “…in the beginning it was not so…”. I believe these pratices are a clear indication of man’s diversion from what was intended in the beginning. Needless to say that “the world is coming to an end tomorrow…” (borrowed from the movie, ‘Cloudy wit a chance of meatballs’)
    Babe, enjoyed reading that one…
    Next!

  9. ok, i’m a bit late to the party but here’s my 2 cents..
    without religoiusity & speaking generally; hetrosexual Marriage typically provides the nuclues for the progation of a stable society (irrespective of how the children were conceived)…any other institution (be it gay marriage, almanjinri etc) cannot produce that general stability, the always produced a ‘mal-formed’ generation (don’t let me bring out the stats here) …any state that legally endorses a system that doesnt give its future generations the best environment to grow is shooting itself in the foot… and that’s why all the ‘progressive’ western nations havent endorsed gay marriage nationwide and only try to appease pro-interest groups by not condeming it either…but you can only stand on the fence for soo long…

  10. Eddy bongo says

    Very interesting arguments here and particularly those that say legislation should be left out of gay marriage as it is a moral issue which appears to be subjective.

    The only comment I will make is that since incest is a moral issue, is it wrong for there to be a legislation against it. After all, incest can be between two consenting adults without physical harm to either or 3rd parties. How would the world look without some restriction against incestous relationships between mother and chile or father and daughter. Maybe we could even have gay incestous relationships but since it is between consenting adults then there would be no need to legislate.

    This is the danger I see in trying to separate legislation from morals and ethics. There has always been a relationship and these morals are what keep the fabric of society together. Without these controls we are bound to accept just about anything.

    • Thanks, Eddy for taking out the time to read this and write a comment. I had no idea incest was illegal. Is it? And where do we draw the line between morals and the law?

  11. There are a few things that I would like to say about this post, but this is the most important: you would likely not require a random stranger whose sexuality you are not aware of to justify her desire for marriage (because you would likely assume her to be straight, and it is okay for straight people to want to marry).
    The fact that you think gay people need ‘convincing’ reasons to want to marry indicates some sort of cognitive dissonance re: their rights as human beings. Your right to marry is something you take for granted because of your heterosexual privilege – it doesn’t appear to stem from your faith or your convictions about sex. It simply is, because you’re not gay. And therein, I think, lies the problem.

    • Hi, Lou. Thanks for taking the time to read. I can understand how/why you’d see it that way. Ultimately, we all must “agree to disagree” on this issue.

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