Wednesday, 17 April

Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill: Proponents and opposition gear up for legal battle

General News
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A potential legal showdown is brewing between supporters of the Proper Human Sexual Rights and Family Values bill and civil society groups, Human Rights Coalition and the Big 18 who are opposed to the bill.

The Coalition and the Big 18 are considering legal action if President Akufo-Addo signs the Anti-LGBTQ+ bill into law.

The 'Big 18' has strongly opposed the legislation, contending that it violates Ghana's rich cultural and religious diversity. 

The bill seeks to criminalise LGBTQI+ activities in the country, proposing penalties of up to three years in jail for practising individuals, and five years for those promoting such activities.

The legislation, which received unanimous approval from Parliament on February 28 after nearly three years of deliberation, imposes a maximum three-year prison sentence for individuals identifying as LGBTQ+. Additionally, it stipulates a five-year jail term for the formation or funding of LGBTQ+ groups. 

Efforts to replace prison sentences with community service and counselling were frustrated by Members of Parliament.

Madam Audrey Gadzekpo, Board Chair of the Ghana Center for Democratic Development and a member of the Coalition, affirmed their readiness to challenge the bill in court. 

On the other side, Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah, Member of Parliament for Ho West, a proponent of the bill, expressed preparedness for any legal action.

“We are prepared since the inception of this bill in 2021. We’ve had much opposition from the likes of Audrey Gadzekpo, Takyiwaa Manuh, Akoto Ampaw, and others who stood against this bill, including some advocates who think that this bill should not be passed. But thankfully, we passed it,” stated Bedzrah on Accra-based Joy FM adding that, “In any case, we are prepared.

Source: Mensah