Tourism Minister designate cautions on anti-LGBTQ+ bill global consequences

Source The Ghana Report

The Minister-designate for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Andrew Egyapa Mercer, has expressed concerns about the potential repercussions of the controversial LGBTQ+ bill.

He believes the bill if assented to by President Nana Akufo-Addo, will affect the country’s international reputation both positively and negatively.

“I will tell the president to weigh both sides. The president is operating within certain social constructs of the constitution, and I will expect him to follow the constitution and arrive at a decision the law enjoins him to arrive at,” he said.

The minister-designate was responding to a question from Minority Leader Cassiel Ato Forson, on what advice he would offer the president on the controversial bill.

He emphasised the need for a balanced approach, acknowledging that while the law may attract support from some quarters, it could also deter others, thus presenting both opportunities and challenges for Ghana.

Mr Mercer is currently before Parliament’s Appointments Committee, as part of the vetting process pending his final approval.

It will be recalled that Parliament, in early February 2024, approved a custodial sentence of three to five years for any willful promotion, sponsorship, or support of LGBTQ+ activities.

Those caught engaging in LGBTQ+ activities are to face a minimum sentence of six months and a maximum of three years.

The passage of the bill has triggered reactions from some of Ghana’s Development Partners, International Financial Institutions and CSOs in the country.

Also, the Finance Ministry has urged President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo not to assent to the anti-LGBTQI+ bill.

The ministry warned that such action could lead to severe repercussions on the country’s financial support from international organisations like the Bretton Woods Institutions.

It also added that “the President may have to defer assenting to the bill until the court rules on the legal issues tabled by key national stakeholders (CSOs and CHRAJ).”

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