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New Nigerian law bans same-sex marriage, criminalizes homosexual societies and meetings

BY BASHIR ADIGUN AND MICHELLE FAUL
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

ABUJA, Nigeria -- Nigeria's president has signed a law that bans same-sex marriage and criminalizes homosexual associations, societies and meetings, with penalties of up to 14 years in jail.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act on Monday that was signed by President Goodluck Jonathan and dated Jan. 7.

It was unclear why the law's passage has been shrouded in secrecy. The copy obtained from the House of Representatives in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, showed it was signed by those lawmakers and senators on Dec. 17, though no announcement was made.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday the United States is "deeply concerned" by a law that "dangerously restricts freedom of assembly, association, and expression for all Nigerians." Nigeria is one of the top crude oil suppliers to the United States.

It is now a crime to have a meeting of gays, or to operate or go to a gay club, society or organization.

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