Speed Read: Mob attack in Nigeria
MOB ATTACK IN NIGERIA: Associated Press reports that human rights activists said Saturday a “mob” of about 40 people dragged 14 young men from their beds in the Nigerian capital Abuja last Thursday night and beat them with wooden clubs and iron bars. The mob indicated it was attempting to “cleanse” the area of gay people and reportedly painted “Homosexuals: Pack and Leave” on the walls of the men’s homes. Violence against gays and people believed to be gay has continued since January when President Goodluck Jonathan signed into law an act that carries a 14-year prison sentence for anyone advocating for gays to have rights.
U.S. REASSURED NIGERIA ABOUT AID: Speaking to a Nigerian audience in Abuja January 22, U.S. Ambassador James Entwistle went out of his way to reassure the country that the United States is not going to cut back its support for HIV programming in Nigeria because of the “Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act.” Instead, he said, the U.S. would “have to watch carefully how this bill is implemented and enforced with an eye towards its potential effect on HIV programs here.”
COMPLICATING RELATIONSHIPS: President Obama issued a statement Sunday saying the decision of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to sign that country’s “Anti-Homosexuality Bill” will “complicate our valued relationship with Uganda.” President Obama’s statement said he is “deeply disappointed” in Museveni’s decision, and he called the law “an affront and a danger to the gay community in Uganda” and “a step backward for all Ugandans….”
CRUZ SEEKS TO DEFEND THE STATES: U.S. Senators Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) introduced a bill Wednesday that reportedly seeks to force the federal government to abide by the one man-one woman definition of marriage in states that still define it that way. The text of the legislation is not yet available, but The Hill newspaper quotes Cruz as saying S. 2024 is to prevent the federal government’s effort to “undermine the constitutional authority of each state to define marriage consistent with the values of its citizens.”
ANOTHER EX-GAY BAN BILL: The Washington State House passed a bill last Thursday that seeks to ban the use of sexual orientation change therapy on young people under the age of 18. The vote was 94 to 4. The bill is slated for a hearing in a senate committee this Thursday. California enacted a similar law that has been upheld in the Ninth Circuit but has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
IDAHO PROTESTERS CONTINUE: Covering their mouths with their hands, and wearing black t-shirts that say “Add the 4 Words, Idaho,” an estimated 65 protesters returned to the state capital again last Thursday to pressure lawmakers to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Idaho human rights law. The Idaho Statesman posted video showing the protesters being turned away after they refused to turn their t-shirts inside out so the message wasn’t visible. The paper says the legislature’s rules prohibit visitors to display political messages in either chamber.
FULL FIRST CIRCUIT TO CONSIDER PRISON CASE: The full First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has agreed to hear an appeal from Massachusetts challenging a three-judge panel’s decision in favor of a transgender person seeking sex change surgery while in prison. The panel last month affirmed a district judge’s decision that a state prison violated the constitutional rights of the prisoner with severe gender disorder when it refused to provide sex reassignment surgery. Kosilek v. Spencer involves Michelle Kosilek, who is serving a life sentence for the murder of her wife while Kosilek was still living as a man.