President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has revealed that the ongoing Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill has been modified.
The President was speaking at a joint press briefing with the Vice-President of the United States of America (USA), Kamala Harris on 27th March, 2023, as they addressed questions raised by the media concerning the relationship that Ghana holds with the United States of America.
Among these issues raised was the legislation of the Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill in Ghana, which is believed to be contrasting the USA’s advocacy for the rights of members of the LGBTQ+ community on a global level.
In response to that, the President stated that the bill had been modified to address issues of human rights. He assured that the parliament’s decision would be sensitive to human rights and to the cutural context of Ghana.
“I have no doubt that the parliament of Ghana will show as it’s done in the past, its sensitivity to human rights issues, as well as to the feelings of our population and will come out with a responsible response to the to the proposed legislation. Per my understanding from the recent discussion I have with the chairman of the committee, the substantial elements of the bill have already been modified as a result of the diversion of the agenda. The final outcome will be in that is the stage at which I’ll also have the opportunity to approve it.”
The President also disproved the notions that the bill has been legislated. He explained that the Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill is still under consideration under parliament.
“We don’t have any such legislations in Ghana. A bill has been proposed in the Parliament of Ghana, which has all kinds of ramifications which has not been considered by the Parliament. It hasn’t been passed. So the statement that there is legislation in Ghana to that effect is not accurate. No legislation. The bill is going through the parliament. The Attorney General has found it necessary to speak to the committee about it regarding the constitutionality or otherwise of several of its provisions and the parliament is dealing with it. “
The USA Vice President, Kamala Harris also assured that the USA’s advocacy for Human rights and equality among all, especially the LGBTQ community will remain unchanged.
“And let me be clear about where we stand. First of all…a great deal of work in my career has been to address human rights issues, equality issues across the board, including as it relates to the LGBT community. And I feel very strongly about the importance of supporting the freedom and supporting and fighting for equality among all people and that all people be treated equally. I will also say that this is an issue that we consider to be a human rights issue and that will not change.”
Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampram and sponsor of the Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill, Sam George expressed disappointment with the President’s response on the LGBTQ+ issue.
Speaking in an interview with 3News, he stated that the President could have sent a clear message to the world on Ghana’s opposition to the LGBTQ+.
“I felt that President could have used this opportunity to send a clear message to the world and to the country that his fidelity to the Ghanaian people is the constitution of Ghana, the 1992 constitution that he swore an oath to uphold and he should have sent a clear message that Ghana is not going to entertain any expressions of homosexuality, and then secondly, I expected that he will have shown that he was on top of his brief.”
Sam George also noted that the President’s message was inaccurate as the bill had not been modified in opposition to what the President stated.
He went on to mention certain key elements in the bill, which include the prevention of child adoption by LGBTQ persons, prevention of legalisation of LGBTQ marriage among many others.
“The bill has not been substantially changed. The bill remains as tough and as rigid as it was, the focus of the bill has not changed, the objective was not changed. The Attorney General has stated that he’s happy with the position of the bill, and that the bill was going to deal with discrimination and our current legal jurisprudence and expand the frontiers of our legal jurisprudence. So clearly the President needs to check his brief on the bill. When the bill is laid before the house you will realise that the focus of the bill which has to do with avoiding marriages, preventing them from adopting children or fostering children, they’re clamped down on platforms and media houses that are going to do promotion and advocacy of push those materials still remains enforced.”