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Activists, Academics Want Parliament To Reject  Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill

In the memorandum, they agreed that the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021 spearheaded by the Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampram, Sam George, seeks to criminalise LGBTQ+ and adjacent activities is autocratic.

Fifteen renowned legal, academic and civil society professionals have filled a memorandum challenging the anti-gay legislation submitted to Parliament.

In the memorandum, they agreed that the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021 spearheaded by the Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampram, Sam George, seeks to criminalise LGBTQ+ and adjacent activities is autocratic.

Professor Kofi Gyimah-Boadi, Dr. Rose Kutin-Mensah, Professor H. Kwasi Prempeh, Professor Audrey Gadzekpo, Professor Kwame KariKari, Akoto Ampaw and Professor Raymond Atuguba are among the signatories on the memo fighting to kick against the bill which is already in parliament awaiting debate and passage.

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The bill which criminalises the LGBTQ+ community also proposes that people of the same sex who engage in sexual activity could spend up to 10 years in jail.

Describing the Bill as undemocratic, their memorandum, which is in response to the call by Parliament for written memos on the Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill, countered various arguments in favour of the Bill, like the claim that it is a threat to the Ghanaian family unit and family values.

They noted that “the proposers of this far-reaching claim have not provided any data or evidence to suggest that there is such a threat, beyond a resort to some dogmatic religious tenets and so-called Ghanaian family values.”

Their memo also contained references to Supreme Court judgements like NPP v. IGP in November 1992 which affirmed the right of the people to assemble and demonstrate against the Public Order Decree 1972.

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“In countries that practice true democracy, supporters and opponents of every conceivable cause are given freedom to associate and express their views,” the judge declared in that case.

In response to the religious arguments made in favour of the Bill, the signatories to the memo said “Christ’s message was/is that we should love our neighbour and not be judgmental and promote the hate and bigotry that many self-styled Christians exhibit and seek to impose on Ghanaian society.”

In addition, they stressed that Ghana was a secular democracy in line with Article 18 of the constitution, “not a theocratic Christian or Islamic Republic or an African traditional monarchy or chiefdom.”

“In other words, while it allows Christian, Islamic, African traditional and other religious beliefs and practices to exist in harmony with one another as fundamental rights, our Constitution rightfully forbids the imposition of a religious dogma, whether Christian or Islamic or traditional on Ghanaians.”

They thus urged the Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to reject the Bill and “not to create a society where the state through legislation imposes one view of ‘proper human sexual rights’.”

 

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