by Melanie Nathan, December 18, 2023.
The Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill 2021, has spent several months of this year working its way through Ghana's Parliament with the promise by Speaker Bagbin that it will pass by year's end.
The Bill which has a clear American Evangelical fingerprint, may be stalling for a umber of reasons:
It seems there is a current debate in parliament as to what aspects of the Bill to amend given recent Parliamentary committee suggestsions. Last week, Parliament could not agree on the appropriate punishment for LGBTQ+ persons engaging in unnatural carnal knowledge with each other.
Despite President Akufo-Addo signaling that he won't sign private members' bills into law, work on the controversial Anti-LGBTQ is proceeding. The President has recently has signaled he will not assent to ANY private members' bills. recently this was his determination with regard to imposing charges on the consolidated fund, including one sponsored by Madina MP Francis-Xavier Sosu seeking to abolish the death penalty. The President's rationale behind his decision is that the bill would impose a charge on the Consolidated Fund, emphasizing that such proposals should originate from the Executive. In his letter, the President hinted that his office would not entertain any private members' bills imposing a charge on the consolidated fund. Because the Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill was triggered by a private member, its fate remains in the balance.
At this time there are reports of members of Ghana's Parliament resitant to voting for the new law.
If the President refuses to attest, final passage and enactment of the Bill will not require his assent as a Private member Bill can be enacted if it acquires a 2/3rd majority vote after the Bill is returned to Parliament after such refusal. This could be a clever strategic move on the part of the President. As his refusal could help an attempted balance to keep Ghana in the good graces of foreign governments such as the USA. However there is no doubt that if this law passes, with or without the President's assent, Ghana may find itself going down the 'country non grata' path taken by Uganda, resulting in sanctions, withdrawls of favored trade status, and the denial of visas to known persecutors of LGBTQI+ people, which could include all voting Parliamentarians.
The Majority Leader says work will continue in Parliament despite constitutional issues raised by Parliament.