Home General Ghana’s Parliament Clears Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill, President Yet To Approve

Ghana’s Parliament Clears Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill, President Yet To Approve

The 'anti-gay bill' was endorsed by a coalition of Christian, Muslim, and traditional Ghanaian leaders.
ghana, parliament, LGBTQ

A pro-LGBTQ rally in Botswana

Ghana’s parliament passed a “Human Sexual Rights and Family Values” bill on Wednesday that calls for a prison sentence of up to five years for the “wilful promotion, sponsorship, or support of LGBTQ+ activities” in the west African nation. Same-sex intercourse in Ghana was already punishable by up to three years in prison, although no one has been prosecuted under that law yet.

Supported by a majority of lawmakers in the capital Accra, the new bill, commonly referred to as the ‘anti-gay bill’, has been sponsored by a coalition of Christian, Muslim, and traditional Ghanaian leaders.

“There is nothing that deals with LGBTQ better than this bill that has been passed by parliament. We expect the president to walk his talk and be a man of his words,” opposition leader and main sponsor of the bill Sam George was quoted as saying. However, analysts believe President Akufo-Addo is unlikely to sign the bill into law before the elections slated for December.

Earlier this year, Amnesty International said that “Last year witnessed a surge in discriminatory legislation directed against LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) persons across Africa.” In a new briefing looking at 12 African countries, Amnesty International documents how legal systems were increasingly weaponized in 2023 to systematically target and discriminate against LGBTI individuals. This includes instances where laws were egregiously employed to persecute and marginalize members of the LGBTI community, highlighting a distressing trend of legal mechanisms being used as instruments of oppression.

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Across Africa, LGBTI persons find themselves contending with a disturbing regression of progress, facing relentless protests against their identities, and confronting formidable obstacles to their legal and social rights, said Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa. “Arbitrary arrests and detentions have become all too common, treating the mere act of being oneself as a criminal offense. In some places, the death penalty looms as a terrifying spectre, a brutally unjust punishment for simply being who they are. We face what can only be described as a deepening crisis of homophobic lawfare.”

In Africa, 31 countries still criminalize consensual same-sex sexual activity, despite the clear contradiction with established African Union and international human rights standards. There has been a trend indicating a stiffening of existing laws in some African nations. In Uganda, for instance, where consensual same-sex activity was already illegal, the situation has worsened with passage of the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Act in 2023. An ominous wave of similarly worded legislation is on the brink of assent across the continent, the report said.

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