The Member of Parliament (MP) for Ningo-Prampram Constituency in the Greater Accra Region, Sam Nartey George, one of the proponents of the Bill against Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQI+) groups, has revealed that about 80 per cent of the issues raised by the Attorney General (AG) on the anti-gay bill have already been considered by the committee working on it.
“I will say that about 80 per cent of the issues raised by the AG in his memo has already been catered for by the committee and the sponsors but it is not every issue that he is raising that we agree with because there are some of the issues that as sponsors we think the AG is wrong, and we are insisting to the committee we will carry to the floor of Parliament and have a debate on that,” he contended.
In a memo to the Chairman of the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs of Parliament, Godfred Dame, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, described parts of the anti-LGBTQI+ Bill as unconstitutional and would face fundamental challenges when implemented because some provisions would violate some fundamental human rights and freedoms, particularly the right to privacy.
The bill seeks to criminalise activities of persons who hold out as lesbian, gay, transgender, transsexual or queer, persons who hold divergent socio-cultural notions of sex, persons with biological anomaly regarding their gender at birth, persons involved in promotion of or advocacy and funding for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer related activities, as well as persons who conduct surgical procedures to reassign an individual’s gender except for medical purposes.
But in his opinion, Mr Dame indicated that parts of the bill in its present form violated some fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in the 1992 Constitution, including right to freedom of expression, thought, conscience and freedom from discrimination however, other provisions of the bill pass the test of constitutionality.
Reacting to the views of the AG, Mr George welcomed them but pointed out that the committee does not agree with all the issues raised by him and downplayed the possibility of the bill being passed by Parliament before the end of the year. “It is practically impossible to pass the bill this year because the budget is to be read on Wednesday and so even if the committee are to meet today (Monday), it will take the secretariat some days to put together its report and share that with members of the committee for cross-checking and verification,” he disclosed.