Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues have become an increasingly prominent aspect of the U.S. foreign policy debate, especially as the United States considers the best response to anti-gay laws passed abroad.
The most recent challenge comes from Nigeria. This month, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, which critics say effectively outlaws pro-gay organizations and will worsen persecution of homosexuals in the country. Various news outlets have reported that several Nigerians have already been arrested under the law and that others have been attacked or harassed.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry released a statement last week saying that the United States is “deeply concerned” by the Nigerian law. “Beyond even prohibiting same sex marriage, this law dangerously restricts freedom of assembly, association and expression for all Nigerians,” he said. He called the law “inconsistent with Nigeria’s international legal obligations” and said that it “undermines the democratic reforms and human rights protections enshrined in [Nigeria’s] 1999 constitution.”