The Majority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, says Ghana’s legislature will do what is best for the country in relation to the anti-gay bill which is currently before the House.
He told TV3’s Dzifa Bampoh in an interview that the lawmakers will do what is appropriate regarding this bill.
Asked about his reaction to concerns that Ghana is likely to face sanctions from the international community if the bill is passed, he replied saying “Let us pass the bill, we will do what is appropriate. In our dealing with the international community the interest of Ghana withholds, we should consider the interest of Ghana, but the same constitution also says that we should also submit to international treaties.”
“That is why I am saying let us get there and I believe that ultimately, Parliament will do what is best for this country,” the Suame lawmaker said.
On this issue of the anti-gay bill, the Executive Director of the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), Professor Henry Kwasi Prempeh has told the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin that he acted inappropriately in his comments.
In the view of Prof Prempeh, the Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament is supposed to serve as the referee and not a player in the matter.
Therefore, he said, a comment made by the Speaker to the effect that the bill was going to be passed smacks of impropriety on his part.
Mr Bagbin shared his views on the ongoing debate on homosexuality in Ghana and also on the antigay bill.
He said he is pro-life therefore parliament will pass the bill as soon as possible.
“Ghanaians have spoken with one voice. I sit here as Speaker of Ghana, I represent Ghanaians and the country Ghana. We have spoken with one voice that we don’t want anything to do with whatever things they add,” Mr Bagbin said in an earlier engagement.
Speaking on the Key Points on TV3/3FM on Saturday October 30, Prof Prempeh said “There is no question that from the beginning, even before the bill was laid the RT Honorable Speaker, a very good friend, had made promises about when the bill was going to be passed. This was completely out of order for a Speaker. Our speaker is not the Speaker of the House in the US, he is not Nancy Pelosi”.
“Nancy Pelosi is an elected member of congress, she votes, she participates in debates, that is their system so she can have an opinion about a bill, express it and do all kinds of things to enhance it, our speaker is not of that kind.
“Our speaker actually is like a referee, an umpire of debate in the house and it is quite unsavory for him to be the person promising when the bill will be passed and that it will be passed by all means. I think from the very beginning the Speaker has acted inappropriately in this matter. There is nothing special about this bill.”
The controversial anti-gay bill which is currently before parliament has already divided opinion in the Ghanaian public discourse.
While some, particularly the religious and traditional groupings, have supported the Bill and are hopeful of its passing, others say it could incur the wrath of the international community against Ghana.
For instance, a private legal practitioner Mr Akoto Ampaw has said the way and manner the bill has been designed indicates the extremism of the mind frame that produced it.
He is totally against the bill and wants it abandoned.
“The fact that the bill goes to that extent of criminalizing somebody who is an intersex or criminalizing somebody who is asexual, this is a meaningless project, shows the extremism of the mind frame that produced that bill,” he said on TV3’s Key Points with Dzifa Bampoh on Saturday, October 9.
He further said the current debate on homosexuals in Ghana is not about religious beliefs or numbers.
“First of all, I want to make the point clear that this debate is not about religious beliefs”.
“Secondly, this debate is not about numbers. It is not lining up how many people support gays -30million, how many people are against gay – 2million, that is not the issue”.
“The fundamental issue has to do with our constitution and rights. That is the basic issue that we have to address.”
He added, “It is a bit gratifying that just recently the Majority leader in Parliament said that the matter will not be discussed on the basis of religious beliefs. I think that is a major step forward if that is how parliament is going to address this matter. It is a constitutional matter.”
Several bodies including the Ghana Catholic Bishop Conference have said that they want homosexuality to be illegal in Ghana.
The Bishops described the practice as an abomination on the basis of scriptures in the Holy Bible.
“As a Church, we want this abominable practice made illegal in our country… The Bible, which is foundational to Christian beliefs and practices, condemns the practice,”
“Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered towards an intrinsic moral evil, and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder…
“The Church rejects the unfounded and demeaning assumption that the sexual behavior of homosexual persons is always and very compulsive and, therefore, they should not be blamed for their homosexual acts,” a statement they issued said.
It added “Nevertheless, according to the Church’s understanding of human rights, the rights of homosexuals as persons do not include the right of a man to marry a man or of a woman to marry a woman. For the Church, this is morally wrong and goes against God’s purpose for marriage. We should also point out that the European Court for Human Rights has ruled that same-sex “marriages” are not considered a human right, making it clear that homosexual partnerships do not in fact equal marriages between a man and a woman. The ruling was announced 9th June 2016 in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.”
Meanwhile, the dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), Professor Kofi Abotsi has said the debates for gay rights or criminalization in Ghana are unwinnable.
According to him, both sides are digging in and positions are becoming irrational and untenable.
“The debates for gay rights or criminalization are unwinnable! Both sides are digging in and positions are becoming irrational & untenable and this is crowding out good reasons and circumspection as lawmakers ponder the bill & its intents!” he said in a tweet on Thursday, October 7.
The Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill was laid in the House on Monday, August 2, and read for the first time.
Reading for the first time, a clerk in the legislative assembly stated that the Bill prescribes lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) and other related activities and propaganda or advocacy and promotion for same.
It also came to light that it supports protection for children and persons who are victims or accused of homosexuality.
Second Deputy Speaker Andrew Asiamah Amoako referred the Bill to the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Committee for consideration.
“For the first time, it is referred to the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for consideration and report,” Mr Asiamah Amoako, who is also the MP for Fomena, directed.
The Chairman of the Pentecost Church, Apostle Eric Nyamekye has asked President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to fight Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, Intersex (LGBTQI+) before he exits office.
He said although Mr Akufo-Addo has stated categorically that gayism and lesbianism will not be legalized under his watch, the President must begin to take measures to stop the gay movement that has started in the country before he exits office.
“The church of Pentecost is 10.38 percent of the Ghanaian population and we are against this LGBTQI+”.
“Our concern is not about today, it is about the future. Today, when we let in this LGBTI what is going to happen, is that we are going to accept same-sex marriage which the president says is never going to happen at his watch”.
“But if he allows LGBTQI to start, it is true that it is never going to happen at his watch but, by the time it gets to same-sex marriage the president will not be the president of the nation. I agree with him but he should stop this, he should close the doors where it matters and we are saying that he should close it now.
“This movement is an insult to God the creator, you are just telling God that he didn’t think enough,” he told journalists on Wednesday, October 6.
The Church of Pentecost on Wednesday presented a memo to parliament in support of the steps taken to pass the anti-gay bill which is currently before the legislature.
The memo was presented to the lawmakers on Wednesday, October 6.