Parliament passes LGBTQ+Bill – Criminalises homosexual activities

Parliament has passed the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill, 2021.

The bill will impose three years’ minimum jail term and five years’ maximum incarceration on those who engage in and promote homosexual activities in the country.

The passage of the bill came after the House had taken the bill through the second consideration stage, making it the third time it was taken through the second stage consideration.

Yesterday’s consideration led to the amendments of clauses 10 and 11 subject to the provisions of the Constitution.

The intention was to ensure that the provisions on editorial policies and press freedom of the media were not stifled or affected by the existing provisions in the bill in line with Article 162 of the Constitution.

If assented to by the President, the bill, which enjoyed overwhelming support of members of the House, will criminalise and prohibit pro-gay advocacy, as well as those who fund the activities of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning, asexual, among other such people.


The bi-partisan private members’ bill was introduced to Parliament on August 2, 2021, and the Speaker referred it to the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee.

Given the sensitive nature of the bill, the committee received 120 memoranda and held 20 public hearings to seek the wider inputs of interested stakeholders before it presented the bill to the House on March 31, 2023, for a debate to commence ahead of its consideration and passage.

It was sponsored by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Ningo-Prampram, Sam George; the NDC MP for Tamale North, Alhassan Suhuyini, and the NDC MP for Ho West, Emmanuel Bedzrah.

The others are the NDC MP for Krachi West, Helen Ntorsu; the NDC MP for South Dayi, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor; the NDC MP for La Dadekotopon, Naa Ofoley Sowah; the NDC MP for Kpando, Dela Sowah, and the New Patriotic Party MP for Assin South, John Ntim Fordjour.

Attempted suspension

Prior to the passage of the bill, the Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, put up a spirited effort to have the House suspend the passage of the bill until today, in line with the Standing Orders.

However, the application to the Speaker and his colleague MPs was shot down by the House.

The MP for Effutu, who favoured non-custodial sentence for those found guilty, told the House that members concluded the second consideration of the bill and they were supposed to move it at the third reading.

He said following an application by the sponsors of the bill, the Speaker told the House that the rules allowed for 24 hours’ suspension of the third reading and the House respected that rule.

He, therefore, appealed to the Speaker to grant him leave to formally file some amendments to the bill.

“Please, hear and accommodate me; I am not the only one who is coming with an application for a second consideration.

“This is the third time the sponsors themselves have come for second consideration: twice on notice, once without notice,” he said.

He appealed to the Speaker that it would not be out of place to pray to be accommodated to enable him to file his amendments to have “a law that all of us will appreciate its import”.

“Mr Speaker, should we hurriedly suspend the rules and say that we have passed the bill?

It means that the doors would have been shut on me on this floor with my own bonafides as they (sponsors) do a member.

“I am appealing to my colleagues, through the Speaker, that in the spirit of consensus building, as has been always part of our practice, that in view of the changes that have been introduced by the sponsors, I feel included by that to do further amendments,” he said.

“Please, Mr Speaker, grant my prayer; if I bring amendments and my amendments fail, there is no problem,” he appealed, but the House went ahead to pass the bill.

Train has left station

Enquiring from the Speaker what became of his prayer, the Speaker replied: “Yes, you did make a prayer, which you amended by saying it is through me to the House, and there was no intervention from the other side.

“You were seeking that leave from the House to get some more time not to move your proposed amendments but to file so that members can read to understand.

“And so I had to defer to the House and the decision has been taken, but the train has left the station,” he said.

source: graphiconline

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