On Wednesday, Nigeria’s federal court dismissed a challenge to the nation’s powerful anti-gay law, the Anti-Same Sex Marriage act, signed into law January 2014 by President Goodluck Jonathan.
As David Mixner wrote earlier this year, “Not only does the law ban marriage equality but also any LGBT relationship. If discovered, gay couples will be sentenced to fourteen years in jail. That is bad enough. However, it also provides for ten years in jail for forming any LGBT organization or supporting the formation of one. The law criminalizes even meetings between homosexuals.”
The court tossed the case out because they said the person who brought the case could not prove he was effected by it — the man in question does not live in Nigeria and is married to a woman with wife and children. His name is Teriah Joseph Ebah, 42, and he’s lived the last 14 years in the UK.
Said Ebah to Buzzfeed News: “I decided I wasn’t going to accept a Nigeria that was discriminatory.” His official complaint cites a violation of human rights protections of Nigerian Law.
On the bright side, Buzzfeed reports, this may not be such a setback for Nigerian LGBT activists as you might expect. They say Ebah brought the case independent of them without consulting them. Buzzfeed quotes Nigerian activist Bisi Alimi (pictured), who says the dismissal “opens a better door for us to challenge the law.”
Leroy Ponpon doesn’t know whether to lock himself in his flat in Monrovia because of the deadly Ebola virus, or because he is gay. Christian churches’ recent linking of the two have made life hell for him and hundreds of other gays.
Ponpon, an LGBT campaigner in the Liberian capital, says gays have been harassed, physically attacked and a few have had their cars smashed by people blaming them for the hemorrhagic fever, after religious leaders in Liberia said Ebola was a punishment from God for homosexuality. “Since church ministers declared Ebola was a plague sent by God to punish sodomy in Liberia, the violence toward gays has escalated. They’re even asking for the death penalty. We’re living in fear,” Ponpon told the Thomson Reuters.
RELATED: LGBT rights are nonexistent in Liberia. The current maximum penalty for homosexual acts is one year in prison, which is relatively light compared to many African nations. In 2012 former Liberian First Lady Jewel Taylor, who is now a legislator, introduced a gay death penalty bill. Two weeks later 2011 Nobel Peace Prize-winning Liberian President Ellen Sirleaf announced that she would not sign Taylor’s bill even after its maximum penalty was “watered down” to a mere ten years in prison. However Sirleaf continues to refuse to consider decriminalizing homosexuality in Liberia. Shortly after Sen. Jewel Taylor’s bill failed, local Christian leaders distributed flyers which declared, “We will get every gay person one by one. Let these individuals be aware that we are coming after them soon. We urge them to also begin saying the Lord’s Prayer.” Liberia is 85% Christian.
ALSO RELATED: Sen. Jewel Taylor’s ex-husband, former Liberian president Charles Taylor, is currently imprisoned at The Hague for crimes against humanity. In 2010 prosecutors in the case charged that Pat Robertson had lobbied the George H.W. Bush administration on Taylor’s behalf in order to gain the rights to gold mines controlled by Taylor’s war lords. During his trial Taylor testified that Robertson had indeed been his main political ally in the United States. According to pilots that worked for Robertson’s Operation Blessings, planes that Robertson told 700 Club viewers were ferrying Christian relief supplies to genocide victims in Rwanda were in fact carrying mining equipment to Taylor’s gold operation in Liberia. Sen. Jewel Taylor has been banned from all international travel by the United Nations.
Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Fund today announced annual “Cyndi Lauper & Friends: Home for the Holidays” benefit concert on Saturday, December 6th at New York City’s historic Beacon Theatre to help raise awareness about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth homelessness and funds to support the True Colors Fund’s work to address the problem.
Cyndi Lauper will be joined on stage this year by 50 Cent, Natalie Maines, Patty Griffin, Salt-N-Pepa, Sufjan Stevens, Emily West, STRFKR, Liv Warfield, Hoda Kotb, and co-hosts Rosie O’Donnell and Laverne Cox. Additional guests will be announced soon.
“For the fourth year in a row, ‘Home for the Holidays’ will feature an amazing night of performances in support of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth experiencing homelessness,” said Lauper, co-founder of the True Colors Fund. “I am astounded by the artists who continue to give of their time and talent each and every year and I am so excited by the line-up who are joining us in December. The concert plays such an important role in supporting the True Colors Fund’s work to ensure that no young person is homeless again because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Apparently 50 Cent has “evolved” beyond his former homophobia…