BREAKING: Gay practices become illegal in Ghana as lawmakers pass anti-LGBTQ+ law

Gay practices have become illegal in Ghana as lawmakers passed the bill on human sexual rights and family values, commonly referred to as the anti-LGBTQ bill.

The bill, called the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill was passed on Wednesday, February 28, 2204. It was introduced by Sam Nartey George, the MP for Ningo-Prampram.

The bill prohibits LGBTQ activities and makes it illegal to promote, advocate, or fund them

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Local media also reports that individuals caught engaging in the activity could face a jail sentence ranging from six months to three years, while those who support or promote the activity may be sentenced to three to five years in prison.

This is coming after years of the bill being in parliament and going through various stages, facing backlash and efforts by opponents to block it or make changes.

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In Ghana, homosexuality is currently prohibited by law and can result in a prison sentence of up to three years.

According to the new legislation, the maximum sentence will be extended to five years.

This proposal will also criminalise the distribution of materials that are considered supportive of LGBTQ rights.

MPs said the bill was drafted in response to the opening of Ghana’s first LGBTQ+ community centre in the capital, Accra, in January 2021.

Police shut the centre following public protests, and pressure from religious bodies and traditional leaders in the largely Christian nation.

At the time, the Christian Council of Ghana and the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council said in a joint statement that being LGBTQ+ was “alien to the Ghanaian culture and family value system and, as such, the citizens of this nation cannot accept it”.

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The bill approved by lawmakers is a watered-down version of an earlier draft – for instance, jail terms have been shortened and a controversial clause on conversion therapy has been removed.

During the days-long debate, the deputy parliamentary leader of the governing party, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, suggested further changes.

The bill will need the President’s approval to take effect.

It remains uncertain whether President Akufo-Addo will approve the bill.

The bill is the latest in a wave of anti-gay legislation passed in Africa: Tanzania, Niger and Namibia have tightened such laws in recent years, while Uganda has adopted an anti-gay law that includes the death penalty.

Thirty-one countries on the continent criminalize consensual same-sex sexual activity, according to Amnesty.

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