Wednesday, 15 July 2015

U.S sentenced pastor to one year in prison after refusing to marry gay couple, as Obama vows to make Nigeria legalise gay law

The Honorable Myron Danus, seen here, handing down a one- year prison sentence to Pastor Horner for refusing to marry gay couples at his church in Proctor, Vermont.

For refusing to join gay couples, a pastor at the Christian Proctor Church in Vermont, Paul Horner, has been sentenced to one year in federal prison.

Below is what the lawyer to the 56-year-old pastor told reporters concerning the court ruling...

"We are currently disputing the guilty verdict and I am confident my client will be a free man here shortly," said attorney Tom Downey.

"Horner was just using his best judgement according to his rights and religious freedom in this country."

This is what the judge, Myron Danus who handed down the sentence told the pastor in court filled with a crowd; "Religious freedom goes both ways, Mr. Horner."

"It is not your place to deny individuals the same rights that everyone else has, rights that were passed down and agreed upon in a court of law, the ultimate court, the Supreme Court. It is not your decision whether or not you agree with the law but more importantly that you follow it and enforce it."

The U.S supreme court just a few weeks back legalised same-sex marriage in all the 56 states of the United States.

Meanwhile, as President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari prepares to meet with his United States counterpart, Barack Obama, in the White House next Monday, the US government is expected to make another case asking the Nigerian government to repeal its law against same-sex unions.

On Monday, the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, stated that the US would continue to pressure Nigeria until it legalises same-sex marriage.

Thomas-Greenfield revealed America's plans during a live-web chat with journalists in Washington DC.

He vowed that the U.S would continue to mount and sustain pressure on Nigeria and other countries to reverse their laws against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) community.

She said: "As a government, it is one of the highest priorities and strongest values that discrimination against anyone based on their sexual orientation and gender identity is wrong. We believe human rights should be available to everybody.

"As a policy, we will continue to press the government of Nigeria, as well as other governments which have provided legislation that discriminate against the LGBT community."

Speaking further, she said: "This is very much a work in progress, but I think you will agree with me that the law in Nigeria really went far in discriminating against this community but also people who associate with them. So, we will continue to press the government, to press the legislature to change these laws and provide human rights for all Nigerian people regardless of their sexual orientation."

Thomas-Greenfield was optimistic that the US would win the fight to protect the LGBT community.

She continued: "With what is happening in the US, you can determine how far we are willing to go. We strongly believe human rights for all people and we are particularly opposed to legislation that actually targets the gay community for discrimination.

"So we are prepared to push this as a policy, not just in Africa but across the world."

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