Washington, DC – Congressman Howard L. Berman, Ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement in response to the Nigerian Senate passing a bill criminalizing same-sex marriages.

“The Nigerian Senate was wrong to pass legislation that not only imposes criminal penalties against consenting adults in same-sex relationships, but also criminalizes any group or organization that publicly supports or advocates for LGBT rights. Such legislation would have a chilling effect on freedom of speech and expression in Nigeria and have grave implications for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment efforts. I urge the Nigerian House of Representatives to reject this reprehensible legislation, and should this bill be presented to President Jonathan for his signature, I would hope that he would veto it. The Nigerian government has an obligation under international law to guarantee the safety and protection of all human rights defenders regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.”