Ghana Passes Harsh Anti-Gay Bill

It’s already illegal to have gay sex in Ghana — anyone caught engaging in gay sex can face up to three years in prison.

Ghana is one step closer to making it illegal to identify as LGBTQ+. Parliament recently passed a bill that seeks to impose a prison sentence of up to three years for anyone who identifies as LGBTQ+, and up to five years for anyone who forms or funds an LGBTQ+ group (if the LGBTQ+ group is aimed toward children, that prison sentence increases to 10 years). It’s already illegal to have gay sex in Ghana — anyone caught engaging in gay sex can face up to three years in prison.

A coalition of Christian, Muslim, and Ghanaian traditional leaders sponsored the bill. Ghana’s two major political parties support the bill, but it needs President Nana Akufo-Addo to sign off on it officially to make it a law.  Akufo-Addo has said that he would sign off on the bill if the majority of Ghanaians support it, but it remains unconfirmed if he will do so.

The bill is causing fear and distress among queer people in Ghana and beyond, as well as activists. Because the bill encourages the public to report members of the LGBTQ+ community to authorities, many fear that a witch hunt atmosphere could develop. Amnesty International warned that the bill “poses significant threats to the fundamental rights and freedoms” of LGBTQ+ people.

Winnie Byanyima, head of the UN body tackling Aids, said “If Human Sexual rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill becomes a law, it will exacerbate fear and hatred, could incite violence against fellow Ghanaian citizens, and will negatively impact on free speech, freedom of movement and freedom of association.”

She added that it would “obstruct access to life-saving services” and “jeopardize Ghana’s development success”.

Volker Türk, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said “The bill broadens the scope of criminal sanctions against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transexual and queer people – simply for being who they are. I call for the bill not to become law. I urge the Ghanaian government to take steps to ensure everyone can live free from violence, stigma, and discrimination, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Consensual same-sex conduct should never be criminalized.”

Right now, 31 African countries criminalize homosexuality.

What Do You Think?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *