Anti-gay bill: Parliament suspends public hearings

Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee of Parliament

The Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee of Parliament has temporarily suspended public hearings in relation to the anti-LGBTQ+ bill, the chairman announced on Thursday.

Ghana’s parliament on Thursday began hearing testimony on a bill that will further curb LGBTQ rights in a proposal widely condemned by the international community.

Lawmakers hearing testimony for and against the law is the initial stage of debate over the so-called “Promotion of proper human sexual rights and Ghanian family values” bill.

Gay sex is already illegal in highly religious Ghana, but the law will toughen sentences for same-sex relations and make even LGBTQ advocacy a criminal offence.

The committee on constitutional, legal and parliamentary affairs is expected to hold public hearing on the law for 15 weeks before the house starts debating.

Closing the first session of public hearings on Thursday [November 11 2021], Chairman of the Committee, Kwame Anyimadu-Antwi, cited time constraints as the reason for the suspension of the hearings.

“We haven’t finished with the public hearings. There are other memoranda that we have received but we are constrained with time and we cannot predict what time we would have to meet and continue,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ningo-Prampram MP, Samuel George, and one of the sponsors of the anti-LGBTQI Bill, described as satisfactory the first day of public hearings on the bill.

“I think it was a good day. Everyone had their say and democracy won. Ghana continues to be a beacon of the African continent.  I am reliably informed that in many European countries where Private Members are laid, the public does not have the opportunity to send in memos talk of public presentation as it was done. So I think this is a feather in our cap as a people.”

The Concerned Ghanaian Citizens which made an appearance on day 1 of the public hearing called on the committee to advise parliament to reject the Bill.

Spokesperson of the group, Akoto Ampaw, said the speaker of Parliament exercised unreasonable discretion in admitting the bill.

In the group’s view, the bill violates the fundamental human rights of Ghanaians and promotes hate.

Other groups that appeared before the committee on the first day of hearing included the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council, the Human Rights Coalition, Amnesty International and Advocates for Christ.

Source: Daily Mail GH with additional files from CNR

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