A private legal practitioner who is against the current anti-gay bill currently before Parliament, Mr Akoto Ampaw, has called on stakeholders to avoid the insults and name calling in the discussions on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex (LGBTQI+) in the country.
Mr Akoto Ampaw believes that the discussions can take place without abusive words.
Speaking on the Key Points on TV3/3FM Saturday October 9 with host Dzifa Bampoh, he said “I hope that through these discussions, the discussion that is going on in the country now which hopefully will become less one of insults and name calling, we can address the main issues and reach a common conclusion as a society.”
He further indicated that the debate is not about religious beliefs or numbers rather, it is about human right issues.
“First of all, I want to make the point clear that this debate is not about religious beliefs.
“Secondly, this debate is not about numbers. It is not lining up how many people support gays -30million, how many people are against gay – 2million, that is not the issue.
“The fundamental issue has to do with our constitution and rights .That is the basic issue that we have to address.”
He added “It is a bit gratifying that just recently the Majority leader in Parliament said that the matter will not be discussed on the basis of religious beliefs. I think that is a major step forward if that is how parliament is going to address this matter. It is a constitutional matter.”
His comments come after religious bodies including the Ghana Catholic Bishop Conference have said that want homosexuality to be illegal in Ghana.
The Bishops described the practice as abomination on the basis of scriptures in the Holy Bible.
“As a Church, we want this abominable practice made illegal in our country… The Bible, which is foundational to Christian beliefs and practices, condemns the practice,”
“Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered towards an intrinsic moral evil, and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder…
“The Church rejects the unfounded and demeaning assumption that the sexual behaviour of homosexual persons is always and very compulsive and, therefore, they should not be blamed for their homosexual acts,” a statement they issued said.
It added “Nevertheless, according to the Church's understanding of human rights, the rights of homosexuals as persons do not include the right of a man to marry a man or of a woman to marry a woman. For the Church, this is morally wrong and goes against God's purpose for marriage. We should also point out that the European Court for Human Rights has ruled that same-sex “marriages” are not considered a human right, making it clear that homosexual partnerships do not in fact equal marriages between a man and a woman. The ruling was announced 9th June 2016 in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.”
Meanwhile, the dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Professional Studies , Accra (UPSA), Professor Kofi Abotsi has said the debates for gay rights or criminalization in Ghana is unwinnable.
According to him, both sides are digging in and positions are becoming irrational and untenable.
“The debates for gay rights or criminalization is unwinnable! Both sides are digging in and positions are becoming irrational & untenable and this is crowding out good reasons and circumspection as lawmakers ponder the bill & it's intents!” he said in a tweet on Thursday October 7.
The controversial anti-gay bill which is currently before parliament has already divided opinion in the Ghanaian public discourse.
While some, particularly the religious and traditional groupings, have supported the Bill and hopeful of its passing, others say it could incur the wrath of the international community against Ghana.
The Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill was laid in the House on Monday, August 2 and read for the first time.
Reading for the first time, a clerk in the legislative assembly stated that the Bill proscribes lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) and other related activities and propaganda or advocacy and promotion for same.
It also came to light that it supports protection for children and persons who are victims or accused of homosexuality.
Second Deputy Speaker Andrew Asiamah Amoako referred the Bill to the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Committee for consideration.
“For the first time, it is referred to the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for consideration and report,” Mr Asiamah Amoako, who is also the MP for Fomena, directed.