The letter, also signed by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, comes days after president Goodluck Jonathan enacted the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, which makes it illegal for gay people to hold a meeting. Any one caught breaking the law could be imprisoned for 14 years. Out of the 54 countries in Africa, 36 are said to have toughened their anti-gay laws.
Although Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni has so far refused to sign the anti-gay bill into law, new laws which increases the punishment for gay sex and making speaking about homosexuality without condemning it an imprisonable offence, have also been passed in the East African state.
Nigerian ambassador to US, Dahiru Suleiman, sparked outraged when he described homosexuality and lesbianism as “animalistic and degrading to humanity.” Despite condemnation and threat to cut aid from western leaders including the UK’s foreign secretary William Hague, Jonathan is not willing to renege on the anti-gay bill.
In their letter, the two Archbishop said gay people were loved and valued by God and they should not be discriminated against. Sentamu argued that the two countries should scrap the controversial laws against gays.
Quoting a joint communiqué issued by Anglican leaders in 2005 which condemns the victimisation or punishment of gay people, the English religious figures said: “We hope that the pastoral care and friendship that the Communiqué described is accepted and acted upon in the name of the Lord Jesus.
“We call upon the leaders of churches in such places to demonstrate the love of Christ and the affirmation of which the Dromantine communiqué speaks.”