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The Ghana Challenge to the Anti LGBT Bill Saves the President but Still Injures LGBTQI+ People

By Melanie Nathan, March 05, 2024

The President of Ghana has found himself in a quandary. On his desk sits a most odious Anti-Homosexuality Bill known as The Proper Human Sexuality and Family Values Bill, passed a week ago by Ghana's parliament. Navigating an election year, while trying to appease global aid funders, ward of sanctions and boycotts, where support for the Anti Homosexuality legislation is very high among Parliamentarians and the Ghanaian populace they represent, presents a huge problem for President Nana Addo Akufo-Addo.

The President now has seven days to attest to the Act. If he does not sign it he will be unpopular during this election year. If he does sign it he will anger global aid funders such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the EU. However noteworthy is the fact that his signature may be mere lip service to those who he chooses to appease, as in fact a Private Member's Bill can pass on a two-third majority vote in parliament, and does not need his signature to become law. However his signature holds extreme political importance.

His clever escape came when he took the opportunity to comment about the Act's constitutionality and to ask his country to sit back with him to await the outcome of the court challenge by a third party. This saves the President from his political quagmire - for now - as he pends his assent for the outcome of the case which could take a long time! Here is his Statement:

Anti-LGBTQ Bill taken to Supreme Court;

A Journalist and private legal practitioner, Richard Sky, has submitted the challenge to the Supreme Court to declare the passage of the Bill null, void and of no effect, as it contravened provisions in the Constitution of Ghana, based on technicalities and it seems as if the merits are not being challenged.

Also, the Speaker contravened the Articles barring private members' bills from imposing costs on the consolidated fund and other public funds of Ghana.

It is alleged that Parliament lacked the requisite quorum to pass the anti-LGBTQ Bill.

That the Supreme Court should restrain the President from assenting to the anti-LGBTQ Bill.

Finally, an injunction barring any attempts to enforce the anti-LGBTQ Bill, as Parliament had signaled that they would veto President Akufo-Addo if he refuses to assent to that Bill. THE SUPREME COURT CHALLENGE

So while Ghana stands in uncertainty with regard to the BILL - this is where the LGBTQI+ community stands, with certainty, that nothing improves for them, and only gets worse, no matter which way this goes.

  1. The current penal code will continue to criminalize under the old law. However that law does not include an identity clause of the new law, whereby merely holding out as LGBTQI+ or as an ally can get you three years in jail.

  2. However this will not help the LGBTQI+ community in any way because they experienced extreme violence, persecution and discrimination long before the new Bill was introduced into Parliament. This has already caused a massive flight of LGBT Ugandans into forced displacement, be it into hiding locally, or in foreign countries as refugees or asylum seekers, as the case may be. That will no doubt continue whether this Bill is law or not, and may become worse.

  3. My prediction. is that whatever the Supreme Court decides will result in bad consequences for LGBTQI+ people in Ghana. LGBTQI+ people have already been so deeply impacted by the trajectory of this Bill and the surge in hate that it has drummed up, that if the Court voids the Bill, the populace will enhance the already popular unleashing of so called "mob" or "vigilante" justice it has always exacted against Ghana's LGBTQI+ community and the anger at such decision will increase the dangers and harms tenfold. If the Bill is confirmed as law, the Parliament will ensure its enactment and that will license that same violence against LGBTQI+ people in Ghana, with added vehemence, given the acute awareness generated by this entire process.

  4. Whether the law passes or not the country conditions will prevail whereby gays, lesbians, bisexual, trans, queer, no-binary people are considered to be Satanic and an abomination and state actors and non-state actors, to include police, schools, universities, landlords, traditional leaders, communities, families, friends, churches, mosques will continue to abuse and persecute LGBTQI people.

  5. Whether the law survives the Supreme Court or not it is highly probable that the identity aspect of the law will apply de facto, nonetheless. and things will be far worse for the community than it has already been.

Stay tuned for more. Please explore website for other related articles.....

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CONTACT: Melanie Nathan,

Melanie Nathan, Executive Director of African Human Rights Coalition is a qualified country of origin expert witness in the United States and global immigration courts, providing expert written country conditions  reports and testimony for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, non-binary, LGBTQI + asylum seekers from African Countries, to include activists, allies and human rights defenders.

Melanie also consults multinational corporations regarding briefings and policy for operations and issue impacted by anti-homosexuality laws and country conditions. SEE HERE

Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Guinea-Conakry, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Ghana,  Kenya, Niger, Nigeria, Malawi, Mauritania, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, Tanzania, The Gambia,  South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe


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