Queen's University

John Baird slams Nigeria's anti-gay law

2011-12-05

Queen’s University global development studies professor Marc Epprecht is available to talk about Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird who spoke out today against Nigeria’s proposed anti-gay law.

Mr. Baird says legislation being considered in Nigeria – which includes making same-sex marriages punishable by 14 years in jail -- would disregard basic human rights.

“John Baird is to be commended for speaking out against the Nigerian bill but I would urge him not to align Canada with the aggressive stance taken by the UK in threatening to cut off development assistance. Such threats have the direct opposite of the desired effect. Indeed, this bill has been sitting on the books for years and has always been tabled due in part to quiet diplomacy behind the scenes. Nigerian senators, like parliamentarians in other African countries such as Uganda and Malawi, are bringing such harsh laws to the table in part out of nationalist reaction to Western ‘bullying’ on this question. One result of noisy condemnations of homophobia by the West, therefore, may be to intensify discrimination against the very people we claim to want to help. Canada should be firm but humble in promoting sexual minority rights, not forgetting that these are a very new thing even here in this country and that they do not have enthusiastic support even from members of Mr. Baird’s own party,” says Dr. Epprecht, an expert on homosexuality in Africa and the author of Heterosexual Africa?: The History of an Idea from the Age of Exploration to the Age of AIDS.

Please note Marc Epprecht has a busy schedule but will do his best to accommodate TV interview requests.

To arrange an interview, please contact communication officers Michael Onesi at 613.533.6000 ext. 77513 or michael.onesi@queensu.ca or Christina Archibald at 613-533-2877 or Christina.Archibald@queensu.ca at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

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