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Path Cleared for the Passage of Ghana’s Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill

The withdrawal came after the House had unanimously voted on and defeated outright the first two proposed amendments that will substitute incarceration of those engaged in and promoted homosexuality with non-custodial sentence.

All 16 proposed amendments that compelled Ghana’s Parliament to retake the country’s Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill through another second stage of consideration have been withdrawn.

The withdrawal came after the House had unanimously voted on and defeated outright the first two proposed amendments that will substitute incarceration of those engaged in and promoted homosexuality with a non-custodial sentence according to a Graphic Online report.

The House also rejected six other proposed amendments to introduce a mandatory counseling programme in the bill for those who will be convicted of engaging and promoting homosexuality.

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The programme would have involved engaging professional counsellors, a move that would have cost implications for the state.

But being mindful of the constitutional provision that bars the introduction of any private members’ bill that attracts cost to the state, especially the engagement of professional counsellors, the members also rejected those amendments.

The Speaker, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, subsequently instructed the sponsor of the proposed clauses, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, to withdraw them, to which he heeded.

Mr Afenyo-Markin said that in principle, he was with the sponsors on the objectives of the bill.

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He, however, said he intended to engage or winnow with the sponsors for them to build some consensus on the amendments he proposed, especially the minor parts of the bill.

“Mr Speaker, I need to emphasise that no attempt, whatsoever, is being made by me to stall this all-important bill.

“However, I want us to pass the bill not as a divided House, but as a House that should build a consensus on this critical bill,” he said.

Mr Afenyo-Markin told the House that he had written a letter in which he proposed that the two flag bearers of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) for the 2024 election be engaged by the sponsors and himself.

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