Wednesday, 17 April

Parliament passes anti-LGBT bill

Lawmakers gather at Ghana's parliament, in Accra, July 31, 2019

Ghana's Parliament has approved the bill on Human Sexual Rights and Family Values, widely known as the anti-LGBTQ bill, criminalising LGBT activities and prohibiting 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 lead sponsor Samuel 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.