Wednesday, 17 April

Assent to anti-LGBTQI law – Sam George to Akufo-Addo after passage by parliament

MP Sam George

Mr Samuel Nartey George, the lead promoter of the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill, commonly known as the anti-LGBTQI bill, has affirmed substantial support among Members of Parliament for its passage.

Speaking to reporters in Accra following the bill's approval in Parliament on Wednesday, 28 February 2024, the Ningo-Prampram MP expressed appreciation, stating, "We want to thank Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu [the former majority leader], who played a pivotal role in passing this bill."

Mr Nartey George underscored the unity within the house, noting, "The overwhelming majority from both sides of the aisle have endorsed this bill."

He urged the President to provide assent to the bill, highlighting the widespread backing it garnered within the legislative body.

Parliament'a approval of the bill criminalises LGBT activities and prohibits their promotion, advocacy, and funding.

Under the bill, individuals engaged in such activities face a jail term ranging from six months to three years, while promoters and sponsors could be sentenced to three to five years.

Prior to its passage, sponsors of the bill initiated a motion for further consideration, with Mr Nartey George proposing amendments to clauses 10 and 11 concerning editorial policies of media firms, aligning them with Article 12 of the 1992 constitution, which guarantees freedom of the media. 

The House approved these amendments.

However, a motion filed by Majority Leader Alexander Afenyo-Markin to subject clause 12, addressing the funding of LGBT activities, to the constitution was rejected by the House.

The bill's approval by Parliament follows a call from Professor Audrey Gadzekpo, Board Chair of the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), urging President Akufo-Addo to reject it. 

Prof. Gadzekpo argued that the bill undermines fundamental human rights protected by the Constitution, including dignity, freedom of speech, association, academic freedom, equality, and non-discrimination.

The bill now awaits presidential assent to become law, although President Nana Akufo-Addo has not indicated whether he will sign it.

In 2021, the United Nations warned that the proposed law would institutionalize discrimination and violence against sexual minorities. 

The passage of similar laws in Uganda, including one with the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality," led to widespread abuse and suspension of World Bank funding to the country in May 2023.