Speaker signals law against LGBTQI+

BY: Nana Konadu Agyeman
Mr Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin — Speaker of Parliament
Mr Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin — Speaker of Parliament

The Speaker of Parliament, Mr Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, has said the Eighth Parliament of Ghana was committed to introducing and passing a bipartisan Private Members’ Bill to criminalise the activities of homosexuals in the country.

He said having gone through the bill, he had no doubt that it was very comprehensive and could be a reference point for justice.

“I have gone through the bill and I am sure that this bill will be a reference point for many countries. It is very comprehensive and really a bill you can refer to as justice.

“It is gone in accordance with all the provisions of our Constitution and laws and our international obligations. It is a law that even those who are against it will find it difficult not to accept. I want to assure all of you that we will create room this week for the bill to be presented to Parliament officially.

“We will refer it to the appropriate committee and it will go through the process. We will invite anybody who has anything to add to or take away from it to appear before the committee. The committee will present the report; we will take it through all the stages of processing the bill and, God willing, it will be passed this year,” he said.

Speaker’s Prayer Breakfast

Addressing the Speaker’s prayer breakfast meeting in Parliament yesterday, Mr Bagbin gave an assurance that the bill would be passed as soon as possible this year.

He said if passed, it would protect LGBTQI+ practitioners from extra-judicial treatment, provide medical, psychological and other forms of support for practitioners who needed help to break from the lifestyle, as well as ban the opportunity for any LGBTQI+ couple to adopt children in Ghana.

The event brought together members of the Parliamentary Christian Fellowship and the National Coalition for Proper Human Sexual Rights and Family Values.

Among the religious personalities who attended the event were the President of the Catholic Bishops Conference, the Most Rev. Philip K. Naameh; a former President of the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council, Apostle Dr Opoku Onyinah; the President of the National House of Chiefs, Ogyeahoho Yaw Gyebi II and a representative from the Chief Imam’s Office, Dr Marzooq Azindoo.

Bill, initiators

The bill is being initiated by an eight-member Coalition of Members of Parliament (MPs) against LGBTQI+, in collaboration with the National Coalition for the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Family Values.

The MPs are those for Ningo-Prampram, Mr Samuel Nartey George; Ho West, Mr Emmanuel Bedzrah; Kpando, Mrs Della Adjoa Sowah; Assin South, Rev. John Ntim Fordjour; Tamale North, Mr Alhassan Sayibu Suhuyini; Krachi West, Ms Helen Adjoa Ntoso; La Dadekotopon, Ms Rita Naa Odoley Sowah and South Dayi, Mr Rockson Nelson Dafeamekpor.

The bill, if passed, will criminalise the promotion, advocacy and funding of homosexuality and all its forms, as well as those who engage in lesbianism, gayism, transgender, transsexual, queer and intersex plus (LGBTQI+).

Again, it will make it criminal for anybody and television stations to produce any promotional materials and show content that supports homosexuality, as well as anybody who wants to provide funding for LGBTQUI+.

Nation united against LGBTQUI+

The Speaker noted that the world was created by God as a society for humans to enjoy and commanded them to procreate to fill the world.

He, therefore, said the emergence of homosexuality had revealed those who believed in God and those who did not.

“This pandemic must be fought by all of us; I can tell you it is worse than COVID-19 and I am happy our beloved country, Ghana, is together in this,” he said.

He pointed out that the President, religious and traditional leaders had all spoken with one voice against homosexuality.

“I sit here as the Speaker of Ghana; I represent Ghanaians and the country Ghana and we have spoken with one voice that we do not want anything to do with whatever things you add to LGBTQUI+,” he emphasised.

He recalled how one LGBTQUI+ activist had called him on social media and described him (Speaker) as a “funny person”.

Not perturbed by such pronouncement, Mr Bagbin said, he would continue to lead the charge to ensure that the right thing was done for lives to be saved in the world.

“I will continue to be funny to ensure that this world created by God remains a garden of Eden for us to enjoy. We will not threaten any person but we shall also not be threatened,” he said.

‘You cannot dictate to us in our homes’

Asserting his unflinching support for those standing up against LGBTQUI+, the Speaker said MPs and leaders at the forefront in the fight against homosexuality could not threatened “in our homes.”

“This must be stated loud and clear to those who have come to do business in Ghana; those who represent their countries and think they are right,” he said.

He added: “We also represent our country and you can never dictate to us as to how to live or not to live in this world. I am very clear in my mind that this House, Parliament of Ghana, will pass this Bill as soon as possible.”

He expressed particular appreciation to the clergy and traditional leaders for staying committed to “our principles and values as a people.”

“The only time you are relevant in the world is your uniqueness; when you lose your identity, you are no longer relevant to the world. I am happy that as custodians of our culture, our traditional leaders are so committed to this movement,” he said.

Encouragement to MPs

While encouraging the eight MPs who were leading the process for Parliament to pass the Bill, Mr Bagbin said he appreciated the challenges and stress they had gone through.

He also lamented the attitude by some Western countries and their local representatives who looked down on poor nations, including Ghana.

“We didn’t take the name Ghana for nothing; Ghana existed long before they came and we will not allow any of them to bring an end to that everlasting Ghana that God Himself had created,” he said.

He described the Bill as a unique singular achievement that would bring a lot of change in society, adding: “Some of us will assure you of our unflinching commitment to see it through.”

Bill doesn’t preach hate

Explaining the intent of the Bill, Mr George said the traditional religions in Ghana - Christianity and Islam - preached love and peace.

“The Bill does not preach hate but the saving love of our Saviour to all those who are in need,” he said.

According to him, it had been established clearly that homosexuality was not a human right but a lifestyle choice.

“And so we respect the human rights of practitioners of homosexuality to get a free and fair trial. However, their sexual orientation and choices cannot be deemed a human right, and this is in consonance with the 1992 Constitution of Ghana,” he said.