Morality, Homosexuality and the Law in the 21st Century


From time immemorial, morality has been a vital aspect of the society, and presently with the ongoing trend and the persistent revolution across the globe, it is therefore evident to say that morality has also revolved.

The concept of morality cannot be abated out of mankind, morality to an extent serves as a yardstick in which the standard of the society is measured.

Merriam Webster dictionary defined morality as the degree to which something is right and good, the moral goodness or badness of something.

Moral ideal varies within various jurisdiction even if certain aspects of morality are acceptable, for instance every nation has the same idea of what killing is about no matter how it is portrayed, and to an extent morality is held with so much dignity, that if an act is in breach to such moral right and such act is accepted by a particular society it creates a dilemmatic situation in the society.

Morality wields a lot of power in control or regulating the act of man, including the sexual affairs of man, it is therefore pertinent to say that the society regards sexual morality as an affair between a man and a woman.

Sexuality is one aspect of morality and mankind that can never be neglected in the society, and with the revolving circumstances in the 21st century, a different dimension of Sexuality that has been in existence for a very long time is gradually gaining acceptance in the modern day society and craves for recognition, which is called Homosexuality.

Homosexuality is a romantic attraction, sexual attraction or sexual behaviour between members of the same sex or genders. It is an act or sexual relationship that is exclusive to persons or individuals of same sex or genders.

Homosexuality has been heavily criticized by societies with high moral values as well as strong religious beliefs. It has gained acceptance into certain societies as well.

Series of research have been conducted to prove the acceptance of homosexuality in various societies. A research conducted by the New Pew Research Center survey showed variances within various regions on the concept of homosexuality.

The concept of homosexuality has gained a wide spread and a high level of acceptance into various countries in the world with legal backing, especially within the regions of North America to Latin America.

Also, the United States of America and Canada have experienced the growth of homosexuality at a rate of at least ten percent since 2007, and this a country where religious activities are less central in people’s lives. Cases of homosexuality are more frequent in females than males, and more among the ages of 18-45 years.

Despite the level of acceptance homosexuality has, it is rejected in certain societies especially societies where there is a high level of religious beliefs and also in the developing Nations like Africa.

In fact, one of the major determinant of human sexuality are in the inscriptions of our religious beliefs. To a very great extent many religions across the globe have kicked against homosexuality, especially the two dominant religions in the world.

To the Christians, homosexuality is seen as sodomy. In 2005 the body of American Baptist Church USA affirmed that “God’s design for sexual intimacy places it within the context of marriage between one man and one woman, hence homosexuality is incompatible with Biblical Doctrines.”

Homosexuality goes against the principles of Islam, and such act maybe be punishable by even death.

However, homosexuality is not only a concept of debate among Christians and Muslims, other religions as well have their own views concerning homosexuality.

The Buddhist have no official position concerning the act, and homosexuality is seen not to be condoned to an extent among the Hindus.

The aforementioned religions and many more consequently punish those who engage in such act by either expulsion or death e. t .c.


The Laws on Homosexuality

The act is seemingly wrong based on our various religious and societal values. It will be surprising to know that the act is condoned by the law in some jurisdiction. Even if the laws and morality goes hand in hand, there’s a nexus between them.

People who engage in such act are humans and they as well enjoy fundamental human rights. The question here is to what extent do the law regulate such acts.

Before laws are enacted there’s a careful observation into the societal values, and to an extent the popular opinions of the people in regards to a matter or situation, but Laws are to evolve with the trend in other not to be obsolete, therefore no matter how something might seem to be immoral the laws might make it moral.

Homosexuality has been enacted into the laws of various countries across the globe, especially taking into consideration the rights and emotional feelings and the continuous agitations of the LGBTQ societies.

After the first enactment that allowed homosexuals to marry in Netherlands, other jurisdictions as well, have legalized the idea.

In countries like France same sex marriage is permitted, it was legalized in 2013. It has been legalized in South Africa despite religion and morals.

Furthermore, in some other parts of Europe, North America, Africa, the practice of homosexuality has become something that is gradually growing into the norms of our society.

However, in some parts of the world, especially Africa, homosexuality remains illegal, they are societies where values and morals are held in high esteem. Nearly 70 countries in the world have kicked against the ideas of making it a corpus of their laws.

In Nigeria, Section 1 of the Same Sex Marriage and Prohibition Act 2013 provides that:
” a marriage contract or civil union entered between parties of same sex, is prohibited in Nigeria and shall not be recognized as entitled to the benefits of a valid marriage”.

This implies that any form of homosexuality is not permissible in Nigeria.

The Act also went further into stating that, in a situation where homosexual marriage has been contracted in a foreign country, it is void here in Nigeria and cannot be enforced by any court of law in Nigeria.

Also the formation of clubs, societies, organization and even participation in their meetings is prohibited by the Nigerian law.

The penalties for homosexuality are:

  • 14 years imprisonment for parties who enter a same sex marriage contract.
  • 10 years imprisonment for persons who registers, organizes or attend meetings of homosexuals.
  • Personss or group of persons who witnesses, administers or aid the solemnization of homosexuals commits an offence, and is therefore Liable on conviction to a term of 10 years imprisonment.

In Cameroon as well, homosexuality is illegal and considered a crime which is punishable for a period of 5 years. Many other countries frown against such act. However their punishment varies to some by death, to others it might be punishment, imprisonment, fines e.t.c.

Furthermore, before homosexuality was legalized in some countries, they took into consideration that what Mr A feels is right, will not be what Mr B portrays as right and should therefore not be imposed on them.

Therefore, every individual should have their own free will, then in countries where they are absolutely prohibited, there is a high level of societal values.

Does this mean that countries where homosexuality is rejected are more moral than countries where it is widely accepted, will homosexuality become part of our fundamental human right as well. What will be the hope of the next generation to come?



Morality is an important aspect of our society. It guides and directs the behaviours of individuals in the society. The context of sex morality varies and it is therefore hard to say whether homosexuality is immoral or not.

However the law itself has stood up to its course, not necessarily to only attain justice but the law tries to modify human behavioural approach to sexuality within their various jurisdiction.


About the Author

Henry Destiny Dedefina is a 200 level law student of the faculty of Law, Niger Delta University. She is an avid researcher and voracious reader who is passionate about the law.

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