Last week, the country was hit with a private member anti-LGBT bill that got members of the general public expressing diverse opinions on social media.

While a section of Ghanaians hold the view that the bill as presented will uphold proper human sexual rights and the Ghanaian family values, others have disagreed stating that portions of the bill seek to infringe on human rights as well as free speech among others.

On the matter of protecting human rights, the Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram, Sam Nartey George, who is part of the originators of the 36-page anti-LGBT bill, stated categorically on Joy FM‘s Midday News, that the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana does not consider same-sex relationships as a fundamental human right.

He described the decision of LGBT persons as a human preference.

“Homosexuality is not a fundamental human right. Show me where in the 1992 Constitution, it says that sexual preference is a fundamental human right. The laws of Ghana are clear. I challenge anybody, any lawyer in this country to show me. Homosexuality is a human preference, it is not a fundamental human right,” he said.

But some legal practitioners have projected doom for free speech in the country should the bill in its current state be passed into law by Parliament.

Cambridge Researcher, Oliver Barker-Vormawor intimated that sex between opposite genders is considered illegal in the drafted bill as sex between same-sex couples. He leveraged on the definition of pansexual in the bill to defend his assertion.

The proposed bill defines a pansexual as “a person who engages in a sexual or romantic activity with persons of any gender identity or expression including persons who do not fit into the binary sex categorisation of male and female.”

Explaining his point, he said, “The law does define what is meant by pansexual activities, and it says a pansexual means a person who engages in a sexual or romantic activity with a person of any gender.”

Aside from him, legal practitioner, Martin Kpebu stated that portions of the bill seek to burden the state with more financial obligations as victims of LGBT activities will be supported.

For him, this is a bad move since the government has been unable to sufficiently support battered women and abused children.

“We have to get serious. Let us deal with domestic violence first. First things first. You haven’t finished dealing with it and you are running for another fund,” he bemoaned.

Today on The Law, host, Joseph Ackah-Blay and his panellists, Dr Edwin Coleman, a research fellow at CICLASS, at the University of Johannesburg and Law lecturer at UPSA, Justice Abdulai, will leave no stone unturned as they dissect all angles of the anti-LGBT bill and the possible threats to free speech.

The show will also look at how feasible the bill if passed into law can be enforced. The hour conversation starts at 2 pm prompt on JoyNews.

The Anti-LGBT Bill

The eight legislators spearheading the fight against same-sex relationships in the country through this bill are; MP for Ningo-Prampram, Sam George, Ho West MP, Emmanuel Bedzrah, MP for Kpando, Della Adjoa Sowah, and John Ntim Fordjour, the MP for Assin South.

The rest are MP for Tamale North, Alhassan Sayibu Suhuyini, La Dadekotopon MP, Rita Naa Odoley Sowah, the MP for Krachi West, Helen Adjoa Ntoso, and Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, the MP for South Dayi.

Portions of the Bill state that individuals of the same sex who engage in sexual intercourse are; “liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than seven hundred and fifty penalty units and not more than five thousand penalty units, or to a term of imprisonment of not less than three years and not more than five years or both.”

Also, the proposed anti-LGBT bill states that “a person who, by use of media, technological platform, technological account or any other means, produces, procures, markets, broadcasts, disseminates, publishes or distributes a material for purposes of promoting an activity prohibited under the Bill, or a person who uses an electronic device, the Internet service, a film, or any other device capable of electronic storage or transmission to produce, procure, market, broadcast, disseminate, publishes or distribute a material for purposes of promoting an activity prohibited under the Bill, commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction, to a term of imprisonment of not less than five years and not more than ten years.”

According to the 36-page anti-LGBT bill, “clauses 19 to 23 deal with the protection and support for victims, accused and other persons. These provisions are included as a recognition of the distinction between lifestyle activists and persons who engage in the acts prohibited by the Bill as a result of social, cultural, financial, medical, psychological or biological reasons. This is in recognition that as minorities, these persons need the support, protection and love of the majority, to help them overcome their vulnerabilities and to give them options so that may be helped.”