The clause-by-clause consideration of the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2022 by Parliament has been concluded.
At the end of the conclusion of the consideration yesterday, the third reading of the bill was suspended until further notice.
This is to give the committee and sponsors time to synchronise work done and to allow for a second consideration if need be.
The House could not pass the bill during last meeting despite assurances by the Speaker and Leadership of the House with the passage of the 2024 budget statement and the Appropriation Act all competing for attention.
But, since reconvening on Tuesday, it has prioritise the consideration, the penultimate stage of the legislative process.
At a parliamentary leadership engagement with journalists, in Accra, on Wednesday, the Majority Leader and MP for Suame, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, indicated that the consideration stage of the bill would be concluded latest today Friday February 9, 2024.
“The Business Committee on February 5 programmed to have the first consideration of the bill beginning February 7, and we do anticipate that we will be able to get it to a closure by Friday (February 9),” he said.
In furtherance to the above assurance, the House has dedicated ample time to the consideration, giving it priority over any other business.
On Wednesday and yesterday for instance, the House adopted a one-item-sitting approach where it dedicated the whole day to the consideration of the bill.
The object of the bill is to among other things provide for proper human sexual rights and Ghanaian family value, and proscribe lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex (LGBTQI) and related matters.
With penalties ranging between five to ten years, the proposed law also prohibits oral and anal sex, criminalise the advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights, the promotion of same-sex marriage or cohabitation, and the provision of support services to LGBTQ+ individuals.
The Minority Leader, Dr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson, said the House would override President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s veto if he fail to assent to the bill after same is passed.
The Minority Leader said the House would use its constitutional power to make the law binding if the President fails to assent to same or offer satisfactory reason for his refusal.
But, Dr Forson, MP, Ajumako/Enyan/ Esiam, said “there are rumours out there that after passage, the President (would) not sign it into law. However, the constitution envisioned this, and it said the house will have to use a certain approach which is the House using the two-thirds majority of members to approve it.
“So let us deal with the first hurdle and get it passed and then send it to the President and if he fails to assent, we will take a decision,” Dr Forson said at an engagement with journalists.
There are fears among some MPs that the President may not assert to the LGBTQ+ Bill, after he declined to assent to three earlier private member ones; Criminal Offences Amendment Bill, 2023, the Criminal Offences 2 Bill, 2023 and the Armed Forces Amendment Bill, 2023.
The President had argued in a letter to the Speaker that the private members bills did not meet the constitutional threshold and imposes a charge on the consolidate fund contrary to constitutional provisions, hence should have emanated from the executive.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI