The United States ‘Deeply Troubled’ Over Ghana’s Anti-gay Bill, Cautions About Potential Economic Consequences

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Source: Graphic online

The United States of America has voiced its concern regarding the passage of the Promotion of Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, commonly referred to as the Anti-Gay Bill, by the Parliament of Ghana.

The bill was passed on Wednesday, February 28, 2024, imposing penalties ranging from a six-month to three-year jail term for individuals engaged in LGBTQI+ activities, with promoters and sponsors facing three to five years in prison.

The US expressed deep concern over the bill, stating that it poses a threat to constitutional freedoms. A press statement signed by the US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller emphasized that the bill undermines fundamental rights such as freedom of speech, press, and assembly for all Ghanaians.

“The United States is deeply troubled by the Ghanaian Parliament’s passage of legislation, officially called the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill, which would threaten all Ghanaians’ constitutionally protected freedoms of speech, press, and assembly,” a press statement signed by the US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said.

“The bill seeks to criminalize any person who simply identifies as LGBTQI+, as well as any friend, family, or member of the community who does not report them. Limiting the rights of one group in a society undermines the rights of all. The United States echoes the call by those Ghanaians who have urged a review of the constitutionality of the bill to protect the rights of all individuals in Ghana.”

The US also called for the “review of the constitutionality of the bill”, stating, “The bill would also undermine Ghana’s valuable public health, media, and civic spaces, and economy. International business coalitions have already stated that such discrimination in Ghana would harm business and economic growth in the country.”

It added that “Ghana’s tradition of tolerance, peace, and respect for human rights is a source of stability and prosperity that has long served as a model for countries around the globe. This legislation is inconsistent with these values and will, if it becomes law, undermine this laudable tradition.”

As per Ghana’s constitution, the bill will be presented to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who will have seven days to decide whether to assent to the bill. If he refuses, he has 14 days to provide reasons for his decision, including provisions that he believes should be reconsidered by Parliament.

 

 

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