Controversial Debate Surrounds LGBTQ+ Bill in Ghana.
The LGBTQ+ community in Ghana faces significant challenges due to the absence of specific legislation protecting their rights. Same-sex sexual activity is considered a misdemeanor under Section 104(1)(b) of the Criminal Offences Act of 1960, punishable by imprisonment for up to three years. Widespread social stigma and discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals are prevalent in Ghanaian society, stemming from opposition by various religious, cultural, and political groups.
In early 2021, discussions emerged regarding the “Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill,” also known as the LGBTQ+ bill. This proposed legislation aims to further criminalize LGBTQ+ rights and activism, including outlawing advocacy and support for LGBTQ+ rights, criminalizing same-sex marriage, and imposing penalties on LGBTQ+ individuals and allies. It’s important to note that the bill is still at the proposal stage, and legislative developments may occur over time.
Public opinion on LGBTQ+ rights in Ghana is diverse, reflecting differing perspectives within the society. While some individuals and organizations actively promote equality, inclusivity, and human rights for LGBTQ+ individuals, others strongly oppose LGBTQ+ rights, arguing that they infringe upon Ghanaian cultural values and the traditional family structure.
The proposed bill has received international attention, with condemnation from rights activists and the global community. Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris, during her visit to Ghana, labeled the bill an affront to the human rights of minority groups. Similarly, the French Minister of State for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, emphasized the need to respect the human rights of LGBTQ+ individuals. The United States Ambassador to Ghana, Virginia Palmer, called for the respect of all persons’ rights, regardless of their sexual orientation.
In the midst of this contentious debate, Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin expressed strong opposition to the legalization of LGBTQ+ activities in Ghana, stating that he would rather die than witness it during his time in office.
The ongoing discourse surrounding the LGBTQ+ bill has led to significant tensions and debates within Ghanaian society, with different perspectives shaping the future trajectory of LGBTQ+ rights in the country.