Ghana’s Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill: A Controversial Move to Criminalize Sexual Orientation

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Ghana has been in the headlines recently following the laying of a report on the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and the Ghanaian Family Values Bill, 2021 before the Constitutional, Legal, and Parliamentary Affairs Committee. The private member’s bill seeks to criminalize same-sex relationships and activities, as well as outlawing support for LGBTQ+ rights. While the Bill has garnered some support from Ghanaians, it has also faced criticism and drawn widespread attention both locally and internationally.

Championed by Samuel Nartey George, the Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram, the Bill seeks to establish “proper human sexual rights and Ghanaian family values” by protecting children from exposure to LGBTQ+ lifestyles and criminalizing any activities that promote or support same-sex relationships. Among other things, the Bill proposes jail terms of up to ten years for individuals found guilty of engaging in same-sex activities.

The introduction of the Bill has sparked heated debates and divided opinions in Ghana. While some believe it is a necessary move to uphold Ghanaian cultural values and morality, others argue that it is a violation of human rights and an attack on the LGBTQ+ community.

The Bill has also drawn criticism from renowned artists and academics, including the Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, who called on Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo, to reject the Bill. Soyinka noted that the Bill was an attempt to “criminalize a segment of the community who are harming nobody,” and that it would have far-reaching consequences on Ghana’s image and international standing.

The Bill’s proponents argue that the promotion of LGBTQ+ rights and activities goes against Ghanaian cultural values and is a Western import that threatens the country’s moral fabric. They also claim that the Bill will help to protect children from being exposed to lifestyles that are deemed immoral and harmful to their development.

However, critics of the Bill argue that it violates the fundamental human rights of LGBTQ+ individuals and goes against the principles of non-discrimination enshrined in Ghana’s constitution. They also contend that the Bill will further stigmatize and marginalize an already vulnerable community and could lead to an increase in hate crimes and violence against LGBTQ+ people.

The introduction of the Bill has also drawn attention from international human rights organizations, with many calling on Ghana’s government to reject it. Amnesty International, for instance, described the Bill as “a gross violation of human rights” and urged Ghana to “respect, protect and fulfill the rights of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

While it is still unclear when the Bill will be debated and voted on in Parliament, the laying of the report before the Constitutional, Legal, and Parliamentary Affairs Committee has brought it one step closer to becoming law. If passed, the Bill would make Ghana one of the few African countries to criminalize same-sex relationships and activities.

Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and the Ghanaian Family Values Bill, 2021 has sparked intense debates and drawn widespread attention both locally and internationally. While some believe it is a necessary move to uphold Ghanaian cultural values and morality, others argue that it is a violation of human rights and an attack on the LGBTQ+ community. Ultimately, the fate of the Bill remains uncertain, but its introduction has once again brought to the forefront the ongoing struggle for LGBTQ+ rights and equality in Ghana and across Africa.

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