Homophobic MPs in Ghana have decried homosexuality as un-African and satanic (Photo: Parliament of Ghana / Facebook)
The Parliament of Ghana has overwhelmingly supported a bill that aims to crack down on the LGBTQ community, with some MPs threatening to target US business interests.
On Wednesday, a committee report on the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill was adopted in Parliament, leading to a chaotic session that made headlines across the country.
Although it is not yet law, MPs were clear in their support for the draconian legislation, claiming that it enjoys the backing of the majority of Ghanaians and labelling homosexuality as a “satanic force.”
MP Sam George, one of the bill’s sponsors, warned the US that if it imposed sanctions on Ghanaian lawmakers for passing the bill, as they have done in the case of Ugandan lawmakers, “We will also take action against their business interests in our country.”
He accused the US of hypocrisy for not penalising its own lawmakers, such as Governor Ron DeSantis, who has passed anti-LGBTQ legislation in the state of Florida.
MP Ursula Owusu, the Minister for Communications, was called “a practitioner of LGBTQ” due to her criticism of certain elements of the bill, leading to a furious retort and an uproar in the house.
She insisted that the fundamental human rights of all Ghanaians must be respected under the constitution, regardless of their sexual orientation. She also refuted the notion that homosexuality is un-African.
“In every community in our country, we know of somebody who is homosexual, and that is why our language has a description for that. If our language recognises a practice, it means that it exists.”
She pointed out that the current law banning “unnatural carnal knowledge”, which is used to prosecute LGBTQ people, criminalises oral and anal sex irrespective of the gender of those involved.
“Whether it is between a man and woman, man and man, or woman and woman, it is illegal under our law,” she said. Owusu urged women across Ghana to report men who solicit oral or anal sex “under the guise of heterosexual sex” to the police.
Some have viewed these comments as an attempt by the MP to highlight the hypocrisy of lawmakers.
It is understood that several amendments have been made to the bill, which Owusu welcomed. However, these changes have not yet been made public.
The previously circulated version of the bill sought to not only criminalise all LGBTQ people in Ghana but also make it illegal to advocate for LGBTQ rights in any way, with a potential prison sentence of up to ten years.
Merely identifying as LGBTQ or as an LGBTQ ally would carry a penalty of three to five years in prison. The bill would further outlaw any medical gender affirmation treatment, gay adoption, and same-sex marriage, as well as prohibit transgender individuals from getting married.