Ghanaians will have a rare opportunity to know where their representatives in Parliament stand on a subject matter, when the House turns its attention to the Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021 later this month.
This was made known by the Speaker of the House, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, in his welcome address to Members when the House reconvened to commence the Third Meeting of the First Session.
The bill which, seeks to proscribe same sex relationships has divided public opinion with persons against it, led by the now famous 18 intelligentsia, arguing that if passed, it would erode Ghana’s vaunted democratic credentials.
“I know Ghanaians are expectant and I know we have over 100 petitions before the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
“We will try not to allow any filibustering of this bill because it is not only Africa, but the whole world is looking at the outcome of this bill. So we won’t allow people to delay the process.
“We will make the process public, the sitting of the Committee will be public and the decision of this House will be public. We will want to know where each Member of Parliament stands on this bill,” Mr Bagbin said to loud ‘yeah yeah’ from the Minority side of the House.
According to Mr Bagbin, the interest the bill has generated is healthy for a maturing democracy like Ghana “and it is important we listen to various shapes of opinions to canvass their positions on the bill.”
Parliament, Mr Bagbin said, was capable of handling the situation as he called for cool heads.
“I will assure citizens of this country that we will create the enabling environment for all to put across their views and at the end of the day, the processes of the House will determine the outcome.
“And when that is done, I am very convinced that the law that will come out of this bill would protect the culture and values of our people and the Ghanaian identity
“It will take into consideration, the human rights that have been guaranteed under our constitution and the richness of common sense, human decency, morality and logic. At the end of the day, it’s a law that will bring and transform this into something else.
Backing the indication of Mr Bagbin, the Minority Leader and MP for Tamale South, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, tasked the Committee to ensure that before the bill came to the plenary, it would reflect the values, morality and the wishes of the generality of the Ghanaian people.
Confident that the House would pass the bill, Haruna Iddrisu said he wished opponents of the bill subjected the matter to a referendum.
The Majority Leader, also backing the publicity of the bill said that had been the time tested practice of the House and the LGBTQI+ would be no different.
“Every bill is first considered at the committee level before it is submitted to plenary. It has never happened that the consideration of any bill has been in-camera.”
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI