Why was Nana Oye Lithur vehemently opposed by a section of the population when President Mahama appointed her to head the Ministry for Gender, Children and Social Protection?
A woman of substance and dexterity by all standards, she was opposed because of her position over the issues of homosexuality which reverberated across the nooks and cranny of the country in November of 2011, which made people shudder to ask “whether her nomination was a placard for announcing formal acceptance and recognition for homosexuals, or signalled the eventual legalisation of that sexual preference under this administration? The fear was that occupying that re-designated ministry, with the "social protection" tag unto the nomenclature of that ministry, she may take the opportunity to re-engineer the mandate given to her by the President.
A context for service
With the growing ambiguity in values; with the very meanings of words and values constantly shifting, Nana Oye Lithur’s position that Ghana’s laws and Criminal Code are silent on homosexuality and that "irrespective of President Mills’s abhorrence to homosexuality and Ghana’s cultural and social stigma against it, gays do not infringe on any legal or constitutional provisions while exercising their sexual preference...[Nov. 3, 2011 Peacefmonline], could just be brilliant quips of an activist when compared to her answer during her vetting that..."I will not promote homosexuality but defend their rights... because these are constitutional rights".
Her position is in sharp contrast to the interpretation of her boss President Mahama, who says the "act is criminal and punishable under the laws of the country"; ( myjoyonline February 1,2013). Who is in charge here? We seriously need to be apprised on the interpretation of Section 104 of the Criminal Offences Act, which makes unnatural canal knowledge criminal. The gay and lesbian society seems to know the loopholes in our laws on homosexuality and are intensifying their campaign in Ghana through seminars in our schools.There are social libertarians who think people must be allowed to live just how they feel and therefore engage in a fierce defence of deviant practices, not caring about moral boundaries.
This era is characterised by the appearances of multiplicity of humanistic philosophies. In today's non-discript generation, where passion replaces reason and everybody is a law to himself, the social libertarians in our society may find great ecstasy in the moral laxity, the persuasive but inordinate sexual contour being introduced into the sacred institution of marriage by homosexuals, but we need to remind ourselves that homosexual act is an affront to our culture as Ghanaians and to those who believe in upholding cardinal family values.
Homosexuality represents an abuse of the sexual faculty and therefore does not deserve encouragement, glamorisation or rationalisation. The legalisation of homosexuality in Ghana will be a very slippery road to even attempt to embark on. We cannot fathoms where and how this is going to ebb; then atheists will come to call for a stop to school prayer and command us to put God out of our public squares.
Time to act
As insignificant a minority the population of homosexuals in Ghana might be, they can resort to the cry of being “victimised,” which is their metaphor for the road to authenticity and acceptance. When that happens, what will be the position of the government? Politicians crave for votes, isn't it? And to them, "every vote counts" as they say. So today, the fastest way to get a presidential salute is to openly declare your gay status. For example, when Jason Collins of the American National Basket Ball Association (NBA) came out to declare his gay status, he was decorated with presidential confetti.
According to the ABC News, President Obama rang Collins in person to praise his decision and offered his full support. At a press conference, Obama stated that he ‘couldn’t be prouder’ of Collins.
Collins later told the New York Times...“It doesn’t get any bigger than the leader of the free world giving you a call and saying you did a good thing, I did something not only to help myself but to empower others”.
Former President Clinton also described Collins's announcement in a statement... "It is also the straightforward statement of a good man who wants no more than what so many of us seek — to be able to be who we are; to do our work; to build families and to contribute to our communities."
Changing the Laws
In 1996, President Bill Clinton signed DOMA, the federal law defining marriage as the union between a man and a woman. On March 7, 2013 Clinton wrote an op-ed piece in The Washington Post denouncing his decision and called on the Justices to decide whether it is consistent with the principles of a nation that honours freedom, equality and justice above all, and is therefore constitutional.
I am not advocating hateful attitudes towards homosexuals in our society, but those in homosexual act should be told that none of us needs "another law" to back the moral and lawful things we do in our private homes. Do we? Before same-sex is accepted as a variant of marriage in our statute books, religious traditionalist and custodians of our culture (Chiefs) should come out of their hermitage and prevail on Parliament to state Ghana's position now before we end up struggling to maintain our identity as a people.
By Rev Nana Anyani Boadum
The writer is Presiding Bishop, Jesus Generation Ministries.