The Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu says his culture does not support the activities of LGBTQ+.
“My upbring does not in any way support this kind of activities,” he emphatically said in an interview on NEAT FM’s morning show ‘Ghana Montie’.
Hon Kyei-Mensah’s stance, however, has somewhat offered some clarity on the position by the NPP caucus in Parliament after the party’s deputy General Secretary Obiri Boahene raised concern about their seeming silence on the issue.
Nana Obiri Boahen, earlier last week, urged the MPs to declare their support or otherwise for the bill.
“I am surprised that I don’t see a good number of the NPP MPs championing this cause, I am worried.”
“No person should even encourage that we should not be talking about that, we should stop it. How do we discuss this even in the public domain,” he told JoyNews in an interview.
A couple of months ago, some legislators presented a copy of the draft of the Bill to the Speaker of Parliament. This bill is seeking to expand on the current law that provides up to three years in prison for same-sex activity.
The new bill when passed will prohibit and criminalize advocacy, funding and act of LGBTQ+ while promoting conversion therapy programs seeking to “convert” people from homosexuality to heterosexuality.
However, the controversial anti-gay bill has already divided opinions in the Ghanaian public discourse.
Academicians Oppose Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill
Some fifteen renowned legal, academic and civil society professionals have filled a memorandum challenging the anti-gay legislation submitted to Parliament saying it violates key fundamental freedoms under the constitution.
In the memorandum, they contend that the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021, which seeks to criminalize LGBTQ+ and adjacent activities, is an “impermissible invasion of the inviolability of human dignity.”
“The Bill violates virtually all the key fundamental freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution, namely the right to freedom of speech and expression; the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and belief; the freedom to practice any religion and to manifest such in practice (which includes the freedom not to practice any religion); the right to assemble, including the freedom to take part in processions and demonstrations; the freedom of association and the right to organize- in essence, the fundamental human rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution,”
“In short, the provisions of the Bill are so egregious in their violation of the fundamental human rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution that it beggars belief that it could be introduced as a Bill in the House of Parliament,” the individuals stated in a memo.
Religious & Traditional Groupings Back Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill
Some Christian leaders, on the other hand, have submitted a memorandum to Parliament on the Proper Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, endorsing the bill. The Ghana Catholic Bishop Conference have said they want homosexuality to be illegal in Ghana and described the practice as an abomination based on scriptures in the Holy Bible.
“As a Church, we want this abominable practice made illegal in our country…
“….according to the Church’s understanding of human rights, the rights of homosexuals as persons do not include the right of a man to marry a man or of a woman to marry a woman. We should also point out that the European Court for Human Rights has ruled that same-sex “marriages” are not considered a human right, making it clear that homosexual partnerships do not in fact equal marriages between a man and a woman. The ruling was announced 9th June 2016 in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.”
With the stage now set for what will be an intriguing “battle” of reasons for and against the anti-LGBTQ+, Hon Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu summed it perfectly in Monday’s interview on NEAT FM, when he posited that despite his culture frowning on the LGBTQ+ activities – “lawfully, we’ll debate on it in parliament.”