I urge Ghana not to emulate Nigeria, and to reject a proposed new law that sanctions harsh punishments for gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender persons. Under this law, gay persons in Ghana will be imprisoned or forced to undergo conversion therapy. Conversion therapy is a discredited procedure to change a person’s sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual.
This bill provides for punishment for advocacy for LGBTI rights, public display of gay affection, and cross-dressing. The bill makes it a duty for Ghanaians to report anybody suspected of being gay or engaging in homosexual relationships. So, how could any lawmaker who is worth his/her salt in this century vote in support of this outrageous bill?
Mischaracterized as bill for the “Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values”, this piece of legislation is not good for Ghana and Africa. Ghana is a nation that prides itself as a beacon of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.
But a critical look at this proposed law shows that it drips with intolerance, oppression, tyranny, and injustice. The bill will legitimize violence, persecution, and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Ghana. This retrogressive piece of legislation will cost Ghana its place among the comity of progressive and civilized countries.
As the case of Nigeria has demonstrated, the bill has nothing to do with the promotion of sexual rights and family values. Instead, the proposed law undermines sexual rights and family life because it would legitimize extrajudicial attacks and killing of LGBTI persons. The bill prohibits advocacy of LGBTI rights. It will endanger and poison social relationships in Ghana.
In Christian parlance, the anti-LGBTI bill will turn families against families, parents against their children, mothers against their daughters, fathers against their sons, siblings against siblings, community members against themselves. The bill will fuel hatred, prejudice, mistrust, and intolerance. It will undermine the peaceful and harmonious coexistence of persons in the country.
Ghana should endeavor to use this opportunity to demonstrate itself as a shining example in protecting human rights. Ghana should not emulate Nigeria. It should distance itself from the homophobic wave sweeping across the region. As the bill goes through the parliament, I urge the lawmakers to exercise foresight and thoughtfulness; they should be forward looking and put the humanity and human rights of LGBTI Ghanaians first. Parliamentarians should vote against the anti-LGBTI bill.
Once again, history beckons on Ghana to provide moral leadership and set a shining example for other countries.
Will Ghana rise to the occasion?