Messrs. H. Kwesi Prempeh and Akoto Ampaw –two Ghanaian legal luminaries who, together with other professionals, are opposing the passage of the Anti-Gay Bill into law have officially taken their advocacy to Parliament.
The duo appeared before the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, tasked to review the various memoranda that have been submitted to the legislative house yesterday, still singing their human rights chorus.
Prof H. Kwesi Prempeh, who spoke on behalf of the Human Rights Coalition told the committee members that Ghana would be threading on a dangerous road should the bill be passed into law.
According to him, the notion that majority of Ghanaians are in support of the bill and hence should be passed into law, is neither here nor there.
He continued that even if majority are in support of the bill, the views of the minority also matter, because they are also protected by the 1992 constitution of Ghana.
Another notion the Professor debunked was the notion that a foreign culture is being imported into the country.
According to Prof Prempeh, LGBTQI+ is not a new phenomenon and that it has been around the world and hence cannot be a foreign culture.
Mr Akoto Ampaw, a well-respected legal practitioner in the country, who stoutly defended The Chronicle, The Spear of Nation, during Jerry Rawlings heydays, also argued before the committee, chaired by Kwame Antwi-Anyimadu that his group would either want to see significant changes made to the bill or the bill be rejected completely.
According to Mr Ampaw, the bill attacks the fundamental human rights of LGBTQI+ people, as well as their sympathisers.
He also contended that the bill has not demonstrated how the Ghanaian family unit is being threatened.
Again, the lawyer indicated that the claim made by proponents of the bill that 80% of people living with HIV are gays is not true.
According to Mr Ampaw, only 5.4% of people living with HIV are gays and lesbians. He said 65% of women living with HIV were infected by heterosexuals and not gays, and hence questioned the basis for the bill.
He contended that if the sponsors of the bill want to argue along the lines of public health, then sex between a male and a female should also be banned because people contract diseases through those means as well.
“If we want to do public health argument, then let’s have sex between male and female too”.
Lawyer Ampaw also posited that though sponsors of the bill have argued that when passed into law, it will protect LGBTQI+ people, few incidences have happened in the country and nothing was done about it.
He questioned what action the proponents of the bill have put in place to deal with those who mete out inhuman treatments to LGBTQI+ people.
But arguing in favour of the Bill, a representative of the Church of Pentecost indicated that the church has over the years played its role in supporting the government in ensuring the growth and development of the country.
He said the church has over the years maintained the moral and cultural fibre of the country and looking at LGBTQI+ and its attendant impact on culture, youth development, academia, economy, traditional systems and the moral upbringing of children, the church resolved to support the bill to promote good values.
He, however, made it clear that although the church as a faith-based Organisation has firm beliefs in Christian values and does not seek to impose its faith on others, in a country where there is freedom of speech and religion.
He, however, said the church has consulted broadly on the impact of LGBTQI+ on Ghana’s socio-cultural landscape and are of the firm believe that there is the need to uphold and promote proper human sexual human rights and Ghanaian family value system, hence their support for the bill.
Some sponsors of the bill, dubbed the ‘Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021’, Mr Sam Nartey George, Member of Parliament (MP), Ningo Prampram, Mr Emmanuel Kwesi Bedzrah, MP, Ho West and Mrs Helen Ntoso, MP, Krachi West were also present.