Editorial: Yes! Criminalising LGBTI is non-negotiable
Culture, they say, is the way of life of a people. This way of life encompasses the values, behaviours, norms and beliefs of a people.
No two groups of people have exactly the same way of life and beliefs, though there may be similarities. As a result, what is accepted by one group of people may be rejected by another.
Whereas some countries openly accept Lesbianism, Gayism, Bi-sexual, Transgender and Inter-sex (LGBTI) practices as part of their culture and have enacted laws to protect the practitioners, whilst some other countries hold anti-LGBTI sentiments, since they are an affront to their culture.
Over the last decade, the issue of LGBTI is becoming topical across the world. The formulation of policies to protect activities of LGBTIs has been supported as coming under basic human rights. The dilemma has been how to strike the balance and linkage between gay rights and human rights. It is important to note that though most countries across the globe have sworn to protect the human rights of their citizens, same sex relations remain illegal, with Ghana not an exception.
Never before has the LGBTI community had an organized and consistent presence of lobbyists and advocates. The modus operandi of the LGBTI community, with the backing of influential people across the globe, is to penetrate state administrative policy and regulatory changes to benefit the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and also to eliminate discrimination from state policies.
The immediate case study is Pope Francis, who in an interview was reported to have voiced out his support for homosexuals, claiming they were children of God and should be allowed to have civil unions. The statement, from no mean a person than the Pope himself, was received with mixed reactions in equal measure, from the Christian community and the LGBTI group.
It, therefore, came as a sigh of relief, when not long after, a letter was sent from the Vatican to all bishops to clarify the comment, which they said had been edited to suite a purpose. This is to underscore how the LGBTI community is desperately working to change the narrative.
Talking about the Pope and the church, same-sex practice is specifically highlighted as sinful a number of times in Scripture. In God’s Law, for example, condemnations of same-sex practice are given in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13. Further references are made in the New Testament. For example, in Romans 1:24-32, and 1 Timothy 1:10.
Just like the Bible, the Quran also speaks against homosexuality as an act of sexual immorality. Chapter 54 of the Quran tells the story of Sodom and Gomorah, which is not too different from that of the Bible.
In the Ghanaian traditional settings, our cultural beliefs and tradition has no space for LGBTI, and as such comes as an alien way of life in the society.
Judging from the above, one could understand why same sex marriage is not captured in the laws of the country, and it is seen as a crime in Ghana, punishable by law.
The Chronicle therefore finds it very distasteful that a supposed commissioning of an LGBTI office in Ghana was done with the support of the European Union, whiich announced the activity on its social media platform.
We feel embarrassed for our country on hearing about this unlawful behaviour happening right in our faces, with the support of such an international body like the EU; Who Born Dog?, we dare question.
What happened to international diplomacy, which demands that the laws of member states must be respected and not trampled upon, like the EU did.
Much as we cannot completely rule out arguments that you do not bite the hand that feeds you, we are also opposed to the mindset that we will feed on garbage because you are hungry.
It is for this reason that we call on the government of Ghana to come clear with its position on the issue of LGBTI, as far as Ghana is concerned. We cannot to pretend that it is not happening in Ghana. If for nothing at all, the mere opening of an office with the support of the EU should be a wake-up call.
We commend individuals like Justice Foh Ammoning and others who have stood up against the presence of LGBTI on our land of our birth.
It is also for this reason, that we agree hundred percent with the Minister-designate for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Sarah Adwoa Safo, when she stated at her vetting this week that the criminality of LGBTI is non-negotiable.
In fact, to quote her, she responded to the Appointments Committee on the subject that: “The issue of LGBT is an issue which when mentioned creates some form controversies but what I want to say is that our laws are clear on such practices. Son on the issue of the criminality of LGBT is non-negotiable and our cultural practices also frown on it and these are two strong stands on the matter and this is what I stand for.”
Madam Minister-designate, we at The Chronicle also take the same position and as such commend you for speaking boldly against it. However, should you be approved by the House, hold on to your words no matter what.
It is our wish and prayer at The Chronicle that other government appointees and the government machinery, the Moslem and Christian communities and opinion leaders in the country would come out boldly to speak against LGBTI – which distinguishes us as Ghanaians. Our culture must not be slaughtered on the altar of political and/or any other expediency.