Blog parliament moves to ban LGBTQ activities


The US says it is “deeply troubled” by the West African nation’s anti-gay legislation

Lawmakers in Ghana have unanimously approved a bill criminalizing homosexual activity, despite warnings from Western governments including the US and France.

The Proper Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill, also known as the Anti-Gay Bill, was passed by parliament on Wednesday, three years after it was first introduced in 2021, and now requires the signature of President Nana Akufo-Addo.

If the head of state approves the law, anyone who identifies as LGBTQ will face up to three years in prison. The measure also criminalizes gay rights advocacy, with a maximum five-year jail term for establishing or funding LGBTQ groups.

“After three long years, we have finally passed the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Act,” member of parliament Sam George, one of the lead sponsors of the bill, wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

“Our values would be protected and defended so long as we have a voice,” he added.

Critics of the bill, including Audrey Gadzekpo, the Board Chair of the Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), claim it violates human rights guaranteed under the country’s constitution.

The legislation has also drawn condemnation from abroad. In a statement on Wednesday, the US said it is “deeply troubled” by the lawmakers’ decision, which “would threaten all Ghanaians’ constitutionally protected freedoms of speech, press, and assembly.”

The anti-gay bill is “inconsistent” with the former British colony’s tradition of tolerance, peace, and respect for human rights, which has long served as a model for countries around the world, Washington said.

“The United States echoes the call by those Ghanaians who have urged a review of the constitutionality of the bill to protect the rights of all individuals in Ghana,” the statement added.

A similar law was passed in Uganda last May, making it illegal to identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. In response, Washington imposed travel restrictions on the East African country’s officials, and Uganda was expelled from the African Growth and Opportunity Act, a duty-free program that had allowed Kampala to export goods to the US for many years.

Ghanaian MP Sam George has previously warned Washington not to interfere with efforts to pass the anti-gay bill. He has said that unlike Uganda, Ghana will retaliate if the US imposes sanctions on lawmakers.

Ghana is one of more than 30 African countries that have prohibited same-sex relationships. Last year, French Minister of International Partnerships Chrysoula Zacharopoulou asked the continent to follow the lead of the West in protecting gay rights.

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