The president of Nigeria has signed a law criminalizing meetings between LGBT people. Signed without announcement, the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act criminalizes LGBT “clubs, associations and organizations” with a penalty of up to 14 years in jail.
The motivation for the Nigerian law is unclear, given that the country already has one making homosexual sex illegal. And gay people were not demanding to be married in a country where being gay can get a person lynched by a mob. In parts of northern Nigeria where Islamic Shariah law is enforced, gays and lesbians can be legally stoned to death.
Some have suggested the new law in Nigeria and the proposed one in Uganda are a backlash to Western pressure to decriminalize homosexuality. Several African leaders have warned they will not be dictated to on a subject that is anathema to their culture and religion.
Oof. Things are not getting better.
The involvement of American evangelical Christians in this movement is truly horrifying. Jon Stewart’s latest interview discusses a lot of this material. Watch it!
“Girls are trained to say, ‘I wrote this, but it’s probably really stupid.’ Well, no, you wouldn’t write a novel if you thought it was really stupid. Men are much more comfortable going, ‘I wrote this book because I have a unique perspective that the world needs to hear.’ Girls are taught from the age of seven that if you get a compliment, you don’t go, ‘Thank you’, you go, ‘No, you’re insane.’”—Lena Dunham, in an interview with The Guardian (x)
-The North Carolina legislature is advancing a package of stringent abortion restrictions that appeared in the Senate this week WITHOUT ANY PUBLIC NOTICE. The anti-abortion measures popped up on Tuesday night, tacked onto a controversial measure to ban Sharia law, and caught women’s health advocates completely off-guard.
-The new amendments would prevent insurance plans on Obamacare’s health marketplaces from covering abortion services, ban “sex-selective” abortions, impose unnecessary restrictions on doctors administering the abortion pill to women, and require the state’s abortion clinics to adhere to complicated new regulations that would likely force most of them to close. A similar package of abortion restrictions has inspired weeks of protest in Texas, where thousands of reproductive rights activists have been rallying at the state capitol.
-HB 695 easily won preliminary approval in the Senate on Tuesday night. The measure will likely head to a final vote in the Senate on Wednesday. Now that the abortion amendments are folded into an entirely unrelated measure on Islamic law, some Republican lawmakers are already claiming that “a vote against the abortion restriction bill is vote for Sharia law.”
-Women’s health advocates point out that, just like the package of anti-abortion restrictions advancing in Texas, HB 695 is actually simply intended to restrict women’s reproductive rights. “The intention of the folks that made the changes to this bill is to end access to abortion care in North Carolina,” Planned Parenthood’s Reed warned. “It’s a wish list of all the restrictions they’ve been trying to get through and weren’t able to during the regular time period of this session. It would end basically access to medical abortion; it could shut down a large number of providers in this state.”
The Ten Commandments that, as a teacher, I should wish to promulgate, might be set forth as follows:
Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.
Do not think it worth while to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.
Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.
When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavor to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.
Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.
Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.
Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent that in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.
Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.
Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool’s paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.