Bishops Condemn Nigerian Laws on Homosexuals' Human Rights: Motion Criticizes Church for Its Support

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STAFF

Niagara Falls, Ont.

Canada's bishops unanimously endorsed a motion expressing "grave concern" about proposed legislation in Nigeria that "would prohibit or severely restrict the freedom of speech, association, expression and assembly of gay and lesbian persons." Their motion also criticized the (Anglican) Church of Nigeria for its support of the legislation.

The legislation is inconsistent with the United Nations' International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the bishops said in their motion, which was passed at their spring meeting held April 23-27. They said they were "especially grieved" by the support for the legislation given by the Church of Nigeria, noting that the 1998 Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops called upon churches to "listen to the experience of homosexual persons."

The proposed laws, said the bishops, "criminalize civil and religious same-sex marriage as well as the public and private expression of same-sex affection, all public affiliation between gay persons and even publicity, public support and media reporting of the same." The proposals "would make the very act of listening to homosexual persons impossible."

In unusually strong language, the bishops said they "disassociate" themselves from the actions of the Church of Nigeria and called upon Anglicans around the world to listen to and respect the human rights of gay people. …

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