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My Religious Faith is Against LGBTQ, Says Ex-President Mahama

Former President John Mahama has for the first time waded into the contentious issue of LGBTQ criminalization in Ghana, as he says by religious faith, he cannot support LGBTQ practices.

“My faith as an Assemblies of God member is against LGBTQ. Because the faith I have does not support a man to marry a man and a woman marry a woman,” Mahama said at a forum with clergymen in Koforidua as part of his ‘Building Ghana Tour’ on Wednesday, January 31, 2024.

Ghana’s Parliament is currently considering the anti-Gay Bill – a private-members bill largely sponsored by opposition MPs. If passed, the text would criminalise LGBTQ activities and advocacy. Initially, sponsors of the bill had proposed a 10 and 3-year prison term for queer individuals and those who support LGBTQ advocacy respectively. But recently there seems to have been some indecision from the legislative committee drafting those sanctions.

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Supporters and Opposers of the Bill

Although religious institutions have thrown continual support behind it, respected individuals in civil society, academia, and human rights groups, have shown hesitation and opposition, key including the late famous lawyer Akoto Ampaw, who, along with others called for its rejection in totality during public discussions in Parliament two years ago.

“The bill contravenes the fundamental rights to freedom of expression in speech; including media freedom, guaranteed under Article 21 (1a) of the Constitution. Our respectful submission here is that the Bill has been introduced in Parliament, not in the manner laid down. This is because this is a private member’s Bill and under Article 108 of the constitution it is the President or his agents who can introduce Bills generally in Parliament,” Mr. Ampaw had said at the time.

President Nana Akufo-Addo last year, also signalled that he would not assent to private members’ bills that might impose a charge on the consolidated fund. That’s left some wondering whether that might include the anti-gay bill, which is also private-members sponsored.

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