Parliament will reconvene tomorrow to commence the third meeting of the first session of the House. High on the agenda of the House would be the consideration the Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021 and the 2022 budget.
The bill which seeks to proscribe same sex relationships has divided public opinion with persons against it arguing that if passed, it would erode Ghana’s vaunted democratic credentials. Led by Lawyer Akoto Ampaw, the 18 ‘intelligentsia’ want the Bill to be rejected because same is anti-democracy.
“The bill violates virtually all the key fundamental freedoms guaranteed under the constitution, namely the right to freedom of speech and expression, the right to assemble, freedom of association and the right to organise, the right to freedom from discrimination and the right to human dignity,” as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution, Mr Ampaw told a press conference in Accra on October 4.
But sponsors of the Bill, led by Ningo Prampram MP, Sam Nartey George, maintain the Bill does not violate any part of the Constitution.
“The constitution is clear that your rights are not absolute… there are limits to the rights and freedoms, and that is what they [critics of the Bill] fail to understand,” Mr George had said on Accra based Citi FM in a response.
The Catholic Bishops Conference, the Presbyterian Church, the Seventh Day Adventists Church, the Methodist Church and the Muslim community, among other religious organisations have given their backing to the Bill.
In their view, the Bill if passed would ensure the right order of reproduction and proper family life as ‘ordained’ by God, was maintained, arguing that LGBTQ+ is morally ‘unacceptable.’
“According to the Church’s understanding of human rights, the rights of homosexuals as persons do not include the right of a man to marry a man or of a woman to marry a woman. For the Church, this is morally wrong and goes against God’s purpose for marriage.
“We should also point out that the European Court for Human Rights has ruled that same-sex “marriages” are not considered a human right, making it clear that homosexual partnerships do not in fact equal marriages between a man and a woman.
The ruling was announced 9th June 2016 in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France,” the Catholic Bishops Conference said in a statement.
“As the oldest and continuously existing Christian denomination, we deem it an obligation to support and promote anything and everything that promotes Christian values.
We deem it fit to support the draft bill that is, Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Right and Ghanaian Family Values Bill before Parliament now.
“We support it and we will do everything, everything to support it to ensure that the bill is passed. That is our position,” the Presbyterian Church had declared.
The House’s Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, has received over 130 memoranda for and against the Bill which if passed could see persons involved in sane sex relationships jailed for up to five years.
Those who persecute a gay or anybody in the LGBTQI ‘family’ could face up to three years in jail. The 2021budget statement and economic policy, however, is expected to be delivered on November 17, 2021.
Credit: Parliamentary Library.