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14.03.2007 General News

Gays Petition Kufuor

By Daily Guide

The leadership of OutRage, London, a gay rights group, has called on President John Agyekum Kufuor to follow the footsteps of the South African authorities, by creating the needed atmosphere for Ghanaian gays and lesbians to practice freely in the country.

In a letter signed by Peter Tatchell, Coordinator, and Kizza Musinguzi, African Affairs Spokesperson, and presented to him in London on Monday, they noted that by prohibiting consenting adults from having same-sex relationships, the President was violating the UN declaration and African Charter.

According to the letter, even Mr. Kofi Annan, the great Ghanaian statesman, defended Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights when he was the United Nations General Secretary, stressing that his extension of spousal benefits to the same-sex partners of UN employees was a rejection of what it called 'homophobic discrimination'.

Arguing that all Ghanaians are equal before the law, the group called on government to turn its back on practices that smack of colonialism and set one group of people against another.

“Ghana's continuing criminalisation of homosexuality is a relic of colonialism.

This anti-gay law was imposed on the people of Ghana by the British colonial administration in the nineteenth century. It sets Ghanaian against Ghanaian, undermining national unity and dividing people against each other.”

The letter, allegedly written in support of requests for protests from one Prince Kweku Macdonald, president of the Gay and Lesbian Association of Ghana (GALAG), OutRage has petitioned the President to repeal any legislation that criminalises same-sex relations, enact new laws to protect LGBT people against discrimination, arrest perpetrators of homophobic violence, and begin dialogue with GALAG members.

“We ask you to support individual liberty; the right of each person to live their own life and make their own choices, provided they do not harm others,” it stressed, adding that a democratic state has no legitimate place in the bedroom, and should therefore not attempt to dictate who people should love.

“We note that the anti-apartheid heroes, Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu are both strong supporters of lesbian and gay human rights.

They are demonstrating inspiring leadership, showing that freedom is for all Africans, not just heterosexual ones,” the petitioners claim.

It would be recalled that a scheduled gay conference slated for Ghana last year was reportedly aborted through public protests, leading to pockets of complaints from the GALAG president and Mac-Darling Cobbinah, Executive Director, Centre for Popular Education and Human Rights, Ghana.

South Africa is the first country in the world to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, after it embraced gay equality in 1987.