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At long last: Parliament passes Anti-LGBTQI+ Bill …awaits Presidential assent to become law

 Parliament has finally passed the Promotion of Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill into law.

The anti-Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Queer, Intersex (LGBTQI+) legis­lation proscribes same sex relationship and provides for related activities.

The passage of the private members’ bill yesterday in Ac­cra was preceded by a second consideration of two clauses sponsored by the lead advocate, Sam Nartey George, MP, Nin­go/Prampram.

An attempt by the Majority Leader and MP for Effutu, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, to introduce further amendments to the bill was shot down by the Speaker.

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He argued that with the sponsors given another oppor­tunity to propose amendments to the bill, he should be given another chance, a prayer the Speaker dismissed.

Mr Afenyo-Markin, the last time the House worked on the bill on February 21, 2024, who had 12 proposed amendments to substitute custodial sentence with non-custodial sentence for offenders was shot down by the House.

Other sponsors of the Bill are Alhassan Suhuyini, MP, Ta­male North, Emmanuel Bedz­rah, Ho West, Helen Ntorsu, Krachi West, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, South Dayi, Rita Naa Odoley Sowah, La Dade­kotopon, Dela Sowah, Kpando, all NDC and John Ntim Ford­jour, Assin South, NPP.

The Bill, which was intro­duced to Parliament in 2021 as the Promotion of Proper Hu­man Sexual Rights and Ghana­ian Family Values Bill, will now be known as the Promotion of Human Sexual Rights and Fam­ily Values Act if assented to by the president.

It, among other things, proscribes propaganda of, advocacy for, or promotion of LGBTQI+ and related activi­ties; provides for the protection of, and support for, children, persons who may be victims or accused of LGBTQI+.

Per the new law, offenders are liable to a minimum of three years and a maximum of five years custodial sentence if found guilty.

The controversial bill has attracted both local and in­ternational attention and has been opposed by a section of the Ghanaian public, especially human rights advocates.

As a result of the interest in it, the bill has attracted over 150 memoranda with over 20 public hearings where stakeholders for and against made their case before lawmakers.

Though it was programmed to be passed during the last meeting of the House, it could not see the light of day, it had to compete for time with the passage of the 2024 budget statement and appropriation.

On Tuesday, the coalition of Civil Society Organisations called on the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, not to assent to the Bill if Par­liament passed it.

 BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI

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