As public debate on LGBTQ+ heats up: President urges tolerance, civil discourse

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has called for civility and tolerance in the ongoing public discourse on the anti-gay bill currently before Parliament. 

Without taking any position on the matter, the President stressed the need for the public to respect each other’s opinion on the matter. 

President Akufo-Addo said this in a radio interview on Peace fm, an Accra-based radio station, on the first day of his tour of the Greater Accra Region yesterday.

The Proper Human Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, a private member’s bill sponsored by some law makers, seeks to, among others, criminalise the practice and promotion of same sex relations in Ghana. 

Considered as the world’s toughest anti-gay laws, the bill, which proposes a ten-year jail term for gay activists, has received the support of religious organisations and individuals.

But a group of high profile lecturers, lawyers and civil society organisations have kicked against the bill, expressing concerns over the human rights abuses in the bill. 

The Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs, which is currently considering the bill, has received over 130 memoranda in support and against the bill. 

President Akufo-Addo expressed satisfaction that opportunity had been created for a private member-sponsored bill to be considered by Parliament and the legitimacy of the consideration process. 

“What I hope for is that the debate itself would be civil and that we would recognise the need for us to be tolerant, of each other’s views even when they are opposing views,” he said. 

President Akufo-Addo was optimistic that the process for the consideration of the bill would be a credit to Ghanaian democracy. 

“I am hoping that the process would continue in an acceptable manner and at the end of the day we would know the position of our legislature,” he said. 

BY YAW KYEI

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