Eight legislators in Ghana’s parliament have jointly submitted a private bill to push for the criminalization of LGBTQI+ activities in the country.
The bill, which they term as a ‘Bill on the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values’, was presented to the Speaker, Alban Bagbin on Tuesday, June 29, 2021. The proponents of the bill want the promotion, advocacy, funding, and acts of homosexuality to be criminalized in the country.
Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram constituency, Sam George, who led the MPs to make the presentation, said it “is a landmark legislation that has taken the last 14 weeks working with a fantastic team of professionals to put together. It is in my humble opinion a world-class piece of legislation which should be reference material for other Parliaments seeking to pass similar legislation.”
In recent times, the LGBTQI+ community in Ghana have featured prominently in the news, especially after the arrest of 21 activists in the Volta Regional capital, Ho.
Prior to that, Police officers raided a house at Ashongman in Accra that was being used as an office of LGBQI+ Rights and shelter for the LGBTQI+ community.
The two incidents reignited a public debate on the subject with some legislators including the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, publicly declaring their interest in criminalizing all forms of LGBTQI+ activities. The bill, presented to the Speaker is the first major step taken towards criminalization.
Next, the bill will be assessed by a Parliamentary committee after a referral from the Speaker, and subsequently debated on the floor of the House.
“The Bill respects the fundamental human rights of all persons, including those found engaging in the prohibited acts, but spells out a rigid punitive measure in line with our social, cultural and religious stance as a nation. Let me be clear here, homosexuality is not a human right. It is a lifestyle choice. A sexual preference,” Sam George stated.
Members of the house who joined Sam George in presenting the bill includes, Emmanuel Bedzrah (MP, Ho West) Della Adjoa Sowah (MP, Kpando), John Ntim Fordjour (MP, Assin South), Alhassan Sayibu Suhuyini (MP, Tamale North), Helen Adjoa Ntoso (MP, Krachi West), Rita Naa Odoley Sowah (MP, La Dadekotopon) and Rockson Nelson Dafeamekpor (MP, South Dayi).
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, after receiving the bill, indicated that a new law to criminalize Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Queer (LGBTQ) activities in Ghana will be passed by the end of 2021.
Describing LGBTQI activities as a pandemic, Alban Bagbin said it “must be fought by all of us.”
“I can tell you that it is more than COVID-19, and I am happy that our beloved country, Ghana, is together in this. The President has spoken, our traditional leaders have spoken, our religious leaders have spoken together, and Ghanaians have spoken with one voice, and we don’t want to do anything that has to do with LGBTQ activities. I will always do what is right because good will always triumph over evil.”