Home » Ghana’s Supreme Court Asked to Block Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill

Ghana’s Supreme Court Asked to Block Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill

by Motoni Olodun

A group of human rights activists in Ghana has filed a petition to the Supreme Court, seeking to stop President Nana Akufo-Addo from signing a controversial bill that would criminalize LGBTQ+ activities in the country.

The bill, dubbed the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021, was introduced in parliament in July by a coalition of lawmakers from both the ruling and opposition parties. It proposes harsh penalties for anyone who identifies as LGBTQ+, engages in same-sex relations, advocates for LGBTQ+ rights, or offers support to LGBTQ+ individuals or groups.

The bill has sparked widespread condemnation from local and international human rights organizations, as well as celebrities, diplomats, and religious leaders. Critics say the bill violates Ghana’s constitution, which guarantees the right to dignity, privacy, and equality for all citizens.

The petitioners, led by journalist Richard Sky and lawyer Francis-Xavier Sosu, argue that the bill is unconstitutional, discriminatory, and retrogressive. They also claim that the bill was drafted without proper consultation and public participation, and that it would expose LGBTQ+ people to violence, stigma, and persecution.

The petitioners are asking the Supreme Court to issue an order of prohibition, restraining the president from assenting to the bill, and an order of certiorari, quashing the bill for being unlawful and inconsistent with the constitution.

They are also seeking a declaration that LGBTQ+ people are entitled to the full protection of their human rights under the constitution and international law, and an injunction against any further attempts to enact similar legislation.

The petitioners say they are hopeful that the Supreme Court will uphold the rule of law and protect the rights of all Ghanaians, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“We believe that this bill is a threat to the peace, stability, and development of Ghana. It will create a climate of fear and hatred, and undermine the social cohesion and diversity that we cherish as a nation. We urge the Supreme Court to intervene and safeguard our democracy and human rights,” Sky said in a statement.

The president’s office has not yet commented on the petition. Akufo-Addo, who is seeking a second term in office, has previously stated that he will not legalize same-sex marriage in Ghana, but has also urged respect and tolerance for LGBTQ+ people.

Ghana is one of 32 African countries that criminalize same-sex relations, according to Amnesty International. The current law punishes “unnatural carnal knowledge” with up to three years in prison, but the proposed bill would increase the maximum sentence to 10 years.

Source: Graphic Online

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