I'll never legalise same sex marriage - Akufo-Addo

BY: Donald Ato Dapatem

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has given the clearest indication yet that the government has no plans to change the existing laws of the country to legalise same-sex marriage.

He said his administration had no authority and would not seek any authority to touch the existing laws of the country to make way for such acts.

The President declared the government’s position on same-sex marriage at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Synod of the Global Evangelical Church in Accra on Thursday.

Controversy

The issue of homosexuality has generated a debate in Ghana, with sections of the public calling on the President to declare the position of his government on the matter.


The debate has become more intense since 2017 when the President made comments about homosexuality in an interview broadcast on AlJazeera in November 2017.

In that interview, he was reported to have said that a sufficiently strong coalition was bound to emerge in the future that would eventually push for a change in Ghana’s laws prohibiting homosexuality.

Views

Since that interview, some Members of Parliament (MPs), religious and civil society groups have expressed different opinions on the issue of homosexuality.

Recently, the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye, served notice that he would resign over any amendments of the law aimed at decriminalising gayism or lesbianism.

In an interview with the host of Metro Television’s “Good Evening Ghana”, Mr Paul Adom Okyere, in April 2018, Prof. Oquaye stated categorically that because he had some principles he meant to live by, he would leave the chamber of Parliament if any amendment to Ghana’s Criminal Offences Act was presented to the august House for reading.

Members of Parliament

Expressing their position on homosexuality early this year, MPs said they would reject any bill that would seek to legalise homosexuality in the country.

They said the country's laws, culture and religious beliefs were against gayism and lesbianism and so they, being the representatives of the people, would not succumb to any Western pressure to legalise the heinous practices.

Commenting on the subject in Parliament, the legislators said homosexuality was not a human right issue, as was being propounded in some quarters, but rather a health challenge due to its serious health implications.

They noted that homosexuals should seek psychiatric treatment or counselling from Imams and pastors, since the practice was abnormal.

Firming up his position on same-sex marriage at the synod, President Akufo-Addo said: “I do not hesitate and state openly that I am a Christian in politics and will continue to be so as a politician who is deeply influenced by Christian values.”  

Miracle

Touching on the issue of miracles, he said if churches continued to make the people believe that survival and prosperity depended on miracles, then those in government would have an impossible task.

He, therefore, urged the churches to let their congregations understand that education, hard work and the grace of God were the surest way to success.

“I do not blaspheme if I say education, hard work and the grace of God are a more reliable path to riches than miracles,” he stated, and added that the church wielded a lot of influence and must use same to make a dramatic difference in education, health and sanitation in the process of building a prosperous nation.

Government and church

The President said both the government and the church had a duty and responsibility to work together to improve the conditions of the people because the youth were not willing to wait for the long promise of improvement in their lives.

Men of God

Wading into the issue of flamboyant men of God, he said there was no doubt that men of God had the moral authority to hold the political leadership to scrutiny and account but indicated that it was important they did not debase the principles they purposed to uphold.

He noted that in times past priests and leaders of the churches led lives that the average person could identify with, but made it clear that he was not getting into the merits and demerits of the prosperity gospel that appeared to be the main theme of many present-day churches.

Work

He said as the church encouraged the youth to hear the call to be pastors, prophets and preachers, they should also spur the youth on to become engineers, scientists, carpenters, teachers, accountants and doctors because their services were needed for the proper functioning of society to create the necessary peaceful atmosphere for people to worship.

Moderator

For his part, the Moderator of the Global Evangelical Church, Rt Rev. Dr Selorwu Kwadzo Ofori, said in recent times there had been discussions on the issue of same-sex marriage under the guise of human rights and urged the government not to bow to any pressure to legalise it.

He said the church would continue to follow the fight against corruption.