- (Reuters/Dario Pignatelli)
A mainstream Nigerian pastor has warned that same-sex marriage could potentially wipe out the human race within 20 years, and offered his support to a new bill being reviewed by President Goodluck Jonathan that could make gay marriage a crime punishable by up to 14 years in prison.
The comments came last weekend from Pastor Enoch Adeboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Lagos, Nigeria, which also has 6,000 parishes around the world.
The will of God for human being is to be fruitful, replenish and multiply on earth, Adeboye preached, according to AllAfrica.com.
"How can a man who marries a fellow man produce a child? How can a woman who marries a woman produce a child? If this evil is allowed to stay, there will not be new born babies again in the world. As the older generation dies, would there be new generation to succeed them? Even plants and animals have new generation to succeed them," Adeboye added.
During last Sunday's service, the Nigerian religious leader also said that same-sex marriage is "evil" and if it were to become standard practice, new babies will not be born and the human race will die out.
Presently, gay marriage is not practiced in Nigeria, but it is not officially prohibited either. A new Senate bill seeks to change that, however, and make such same-sex unions illegal and punishable by a prison sentence. The bill was already passed last year, and is on its way to becoming law, requiring only President Jonathan's signature, who attends pastor Adeboye's sermons, Voice of America reported.
"Same-sex marriage cannot be allowed on moral and religious grounds. The Muslim religion forbids it. Christianity forbids it and the African traditional religion forbids it," argued the bill's sponsor, Senator Domingo Obende.
Gay rights activists have reacted strongly, saying that the new law would not only infringe on the human rights of gays and lesbians, but will also outlaw HIV/AIDS clinics that offer help.
"We're looking at it as a question of human rights," said U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Terence P. McCulley on Monday. "As a question of freedom of expression, freedom of association and questioning if all parts of the bill subscribe to international human rights conventions to which Nigeria is a party. And we're worried about some elements, frankly, of the bill which could criminalize people who come together in associations to help people who have HIV and AIDS."
The Nigerian bill comes as Uganda is still debating whether to include the death penalty for homosexual acts in its own anti-gay bill that has been presented by parliament. The proposition has been condemned by some American church leaders, such as Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in California, who has called the bill "unjust, extreme and un-Christian toward homosexuals."