Anti-LGBTQ bill to be read in Parliament first time today
An anti-LGBTQ bill that seeks to punish among other things, identifying with the spectrum as well advocacy on behalf of the queer community, will be laid before Parliament for first reading today, August 2.
The Proper Human Sexual and Ghanaian Family Values Bill (2021) is a legislative proposal drafted by Member of Parliament (MP) for Ningo-Prampram, Sam Nartey George.
The bill is also one of the first since Ghanaian MPs approved a bill that would allow individual legislators to propose bills instead of the house simply deliberating on proposals sent in by the executive arm of government.
Along with George, the MPs for Kpando (Della Adjoa Sowah); Ho West (Emmanuel Bedzrah); Assin South (John Ntim Fordjour); Tamale North (Alhassan Suhuyini) and La Dadekotopon (Rita Sowah) are named as sponsors.
The rest are MP for South Dayi, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor and MP for Krachi West, Helen Adwoa Ntoso.
Only one of the MPs belongs to the ruling New Patriotic Party while the rest are from the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
The bill was presented to the Speaker a few weeks ago and is yet to be laid before the house for first reading after which the Speaker would refer the legislative proposal to a committee.
But the legislative proposal was leaked to the general public two weeks ago, provoking frantic debates on radio and on social media platforms.
Among its high-profile supporters includes the Apostle Opoku Onyinah, a former head of the Pentecost Church in Ghana, Moses Foh-Amoaning, a lawyer, lecturer and sportscaster as well as other MPs who are not even named as sponsors.
The controversial bill holds severe punitive ramifications for those who are accused of belonging to the LGBTQ+ spectrum. Members and advocates of the community could receive 10-year prison sentences.
Individuals who also participate in violence against suspected LGBTQ persons could also be jailed for a year.
The Proper Human Sexual and Ghanaian Family Values Bill (2021) also proposes new legal definitions of Ghanaian family values, carnal knowledge and what it means to have medical conditions that restrict nominal identification as male or female (the state of being intersex).
But the MP for Old Tafo, Vincent Ekow Assafuah, has expressed suspicions about the timing and purpose of the bill championed by mostly members of the Minority in Parliament.
Speaking in a TV interview on Monday, July 26, Assafuah argued that the members of the Minority were bringing to the fore a non-issue since the Criminal Offences Act already dealt with what is seen as sexual crimes.
Assafuah explained that alternatively, Minority members could invest their time into developmental issues and focus on the matter of getting Ghana back on its feet during this pandemic.
The first-time MP fears that the anti-LGBTQ agenda led by the Ningo-Prampram MP will make things hard for the executive to raise the monies Ghana needs on the international markets as well as encourage investments.