Hope for Ghana as President Delays Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill Signature


The President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, has not yet decided to sign the Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill into law (Photo: Graham Carlow)

The President of Ghana has announced that he’ll hold off on signing the country’s appalling Anti-LGBTQ+ bill pending the outcome of a court case challenging the legislation’s constitutionality.

Addressing Members of the Diplomatic Corps on Tuesday, President Nana Akufo-Addo acknowledged the recent passage of the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill by Parliament but revealed that it had yet to reach his desk.

He also admitted that it had “raised considerable anxieties in certain quarters of the diplomatic community and amongst some friends of Ghana that she may be turning her back on her, hitherto, enviable, longstanding record on human rights observance and attachment to the rule of law.”

Akufo-Addo asserted that “no such back-sliding will be contemplated or occasioned.”

Supreme Court of Ghana Asked to Strike Down the Bill

Addressing a suit lodged in the Supreme Court against the bill, the president said it would be best for “all of us to hold our hands, and await the decision of the Court before any action is taken.”

He added: “The operation of the institutions of the Ghanaian state will determine the future trajectory of the rule of law and human rights compliance in our country.”

Journalist and private legal practitioner Richard Sky is petitioning the Supreme Court of Ghana to declare the bill null, void, and of no effect because it violates several constitutional provisions.

He also argues that Parliament lacked the requisite quorum to pass the Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill and that private members’ bills, like the Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill, cannot impose costs on public funds, which it does.

Sky further asked the court to restrain Parliament from presenting the bill to the president for his signature.

World Speaks Out Against Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill

Demonstrations against the bill were held around the world on Wednesday, urging President Akufo-Addo to reject the bill. In South Africa, activists added their voice to the global chorus of condemnation by staging a protest outside the Ghana High Commission in Pretoria.

If signed into law, the bill will jail people for up to three years simply for identifying as lesbian, gay, transgender, transsexual, queer, pansexual, non-binary, or as an ally.

Anyone found guilty of promoting and advocating LGBTQ+ “activities” in any medium faces up to 10 years in prison, as do landlords who rent their premises to an LGBTQ+ person.

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