Even though Nigeria's law is known as the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition act, it does much more, threatening partners in same sex relationships with 14-year prison sentences, criminalizing not only intimate LGBT relationships but also attending or organizing a meeting of LGBTs, and patronizing or operating any gay organization.
Secretary of State John Kerry asserted that the law violated basic human rights protections guaranteed by Nigeria’s own Constitution, adding, "Beyond even prohibiting same-sex marriage, the law dangerously restricts freedom of assembly, association and expression for all Nigerians.”With more than 175 million people, Nigeria is twice the size of Africa’s next most populous nation, Ethiopia. As one of the world’s leading oil producers, it wields huge economic and political influence in Africa, in no small measure on account of its status as one of the world's leading oil producers; its hostility to LGBTs will certainly reverberate elsewhere in Africa.
Adotei Akwei, managing director of government relations at Amnesty International USA in Washington, said in an email that the group was “appalled at the new legislation, which we believe will put members of Nigeria’s L.G.B.T. community at risk and is a clear violation of Nigeria’s international and regional human right obligations.” Mr. Akwei said all governments “are tasked with protecting the rights of all of their citizens and individuals in their areas of jurisdiction, not just the ones they like.”
Nigerian gay-rights advocates said the law also elevated the risk to people living with H.I.V. and AIDS, because organizations that help them might also be deemed illegal. Davis Mac-Iyalla, a gay-rights activist, said in an interview with SaharaReporters.com, a Nigerian news website, that the law’s effects “may well translate into more young people becoming homeless, and social and state violence.”
Nigeria’s population is about evenly split between Muslims and Christians, but there is little dissent to widespread antipathy toward LGBTs; the Pew Research Global Attitudes Project said that the 98% of Nigerians who answered “no” to the question “Should society accept homosexuality?” — was the largest of 39 countries it surveyed on the issue.