In a recent statement, Alban S. K. Bagbin, the Speaker of Parliament in Ghana, has vehemently voiced his opposition to the legalization of LGBTQ+ activities in the country. Bagbin went as far as stating that he would rather die than witness the acceptance of such practices in Ghana.
During a press soirée in Tamale as part of the Parliament of Ghana’s 30th Anniversary Celebration, Bagbin made his position clear, citing his Catholic beliefs and the notion that legalizing LGBTQ+ activities would be an affront to divine order. He expressed concern that such a move could potentially lead to the end of the world, as he believes God has deemed the world to be eternal until his return.
The controversy arises in the context of the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, 2021, commonly known as the Anti-LGBTQI+ Bill. The bill, currently being reviewed by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitutional, Legal, and Parliamentary Affairs, aims to uphold Ghanaian family values while criminalizing LGBTQ+ activities. Offenders found guilty under this legislation could face up to 10 years of imprisonment.
Supporters of the bill argue that it aligns with Ghana’s cultural and religious values, asserting that it protects what they perceive as normal while discouraging what they deem abnormal. They believe that passing this legislation would not violate the provisions of the 1992 Constitution.
However, the United Nations (UN) human rights experts have expressed deep concern about the proposed bill, urging the Ghanaian government to reject it. They contend that the bill promotes state-sponsored discrimination and violence against the LGBTQ+ community. The UN’s statement further highlights that considering such legislation contradicts Ghana’s reputation as a champion of democracy in Africa, which has made significant progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
The ongoing debate surrounding LGBTQ+ rights in Ghana showcases the clash between deeply rooted cultural, religious, and traditional beliefs and the pursuit of inclusivity, human rights, and international standards. As the discussions continue, it remains to be seen how the Ghanaian government and society at large will navigate this complex issue, seeking a balance between respecting diverse perspectives and protecting the rights and dignity of all individuals.