We’ll go to court if Akufo-Addo assents Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill – Gender activist

Social News Well go to court if Akufo-Addo assents Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill – Gender activist
MAR 5, 2024 LISTEN

Dr. Amanda Odoi, a gender activist and research fellow with the Centre for Gender Research, Advocacy, and Documentation (CEGRAD), has issued a warning of potential legal action if President Nana Akufo-Addo signs the Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill.

Her initial efforts to halt the bill's passage encountered a roadblock.

The Majority Leader in Parliament, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, had stated that the bill had not yet been presented to President Akufo-Addo.

In an interview with Bernard Avle on The Point of View on Citi TV, Dr. Odoi pledged to persist until any plan by the President to assent to the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill, also known as the anti-gay bill, is aborted.

“The first attempt was to have an injunction on the process, but then, the substantive case is still in court, and we are on it, it has not been scrapped totally. And yes, beyond that, I still intend to go to court if the President decides to assent to the bill. It’s something I want to push a bit further, but then that will be a different case from the interpretation of the bill. This will also be a different case altogether.”

She expressed concern about the implications of some provisions of the bill, characterizing them as “very subjective and vague.”

Dr. Odoi questioned the rationale behind incarcerating individuals perceived to be gay.

She also pointed out contradictions in certain provisions of the bill targeted at queer persons, citing the acceptance of sex toys in heterosexual relationships but not in homosexual ones.

“The provisions in the bill are very subjective, vague and have implications. For example, the struggles we are having versus what is actually in the bill. The argument out there is that we don’t like queer practices, some people say we don’t care what they do in their bedrooms, but what is outside. What is outside is criminalizing people who say the same thing. Let it be there, but don’t let us pass laws to criminalize what they do in their bedrooms, and you are saying that when people say this, the person is an ally and can be jailed for it. That is a problem.”

She emphasized, “There are provisions that say that the use of sex toys in heterosexual relationships is fine, but the use of sex toys in homosexuals’ relationships is an offense? These contradictory positions and these positions are dangerous things we have to pay attention to.”

She contended that individuals should not be penalized for their choices, noting that many Ghanaian men are married to their partners for various benefits.

“When we are making choices of partners, it’s based on the best opportunities available to us, some of the men in Ghana will not be married to the kind of women they are married to if not for the kind of economic standing or certain characteristics they bring to the relationships. So, if a queer person chooses to be in a relationship with somebody for the benefits the person offers, why should the person be criminalized because of that? Heterosexual relationships are negotiated along the line.”

On Wednesday, February 28, 2024, the bill that criminalizes LGBTQ+ activities, as well as their promotion, advocacy, and funding, was passed.

Those found guilty could face a jail term ranging from 6 months to 3 years, while those promoting and sponsoring the act could face a jail term between 3 and 5 years.

The Bill's passage has attracted criticism from various stakeholders, including the United States Ambassador to Ghana, Virginia Evelyn Palmer.