Ghana set to pass anti-homosexuality law after legal challenge fails in Supreme Court

Ghana pesident Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in front of an American flag

Ghana is set to pass an anti-homosexuality law after its Supreme Court blocked a legal challenge.

Same-sex intercourse is already illegal in the West African nation, and is punishable by up to three years in jail.

The Ghanaian parliament has been debating the Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values bill for two years, with most MPs in favour of it.

It would criminalise same-sex relations, being transgender and advocating for LGBTQ+ rights (which alone is punishable by up to 10 yeas in jail under the bill), Reuters reported.

A legal challenge, filed by academic researcher Amanda Odoi, said the proposed legislation would affect donor aid and other financial support for the country, according to the news agency.

However, the Supreme Court ruled last week that her arguments were not convincing enough to grant an injunction, meaning Ghana’s parliament has a clear path to getting the bill through its final stages and signed into law.

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Shortly after the bill had its first reading in August 2021, a group of 13 United Nations experts called for it to be rejected, branding it “a textbook example of discrimination” and a “recipe for conflict and violence”.

They said it would promote conversion therapy, unnecessary medical procedures on intersex children and so-called corrective rape, where women are raped with the perpetrator claiming it was to make them heterosexual.

In January 2022, the bill was even called out for being too “severe” by the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Ghana.

Kamala Harris stands alongside Ghana president Nana Akufo-Addo.
US vice-president Kamala Harris has told Ghana president Nana Akufo-Addo she feels strongly about LGBTQ+ rights. (Getty)

Earlier this year, United States vice-president Kamala Harris, standing next to Ghana president Nana Akufo-Addo during a press conference, said she felt “very strongly” about supporting the development of LGBTQ+ rights in Africa.

It was something she considered “a human rights issue and that will not change,” she added.

Other African countries are also clamping down on queer rights.

Uganda has already passed a strict anti-homosexuality bill into law. It introduces a death sentence for “aggravated homosexuality”, which is defined as sex with a person under the age of 18 and having sex while HIV positive, among other categories.

Kenya is also considering an anti-homosexuality bill. The Family Protection Act would see a complete ban on activities that “promote homosexuality”, including openly identifying as LGBTQ+ or wearing Pride emblems.

It heavily reflects the law in Uganda, with a similar “aggravated homosexuality” clause that could also result in the execution of offenders.

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