What is the difference between our existing laws and the laws contained in the anti-LGBT law?

By Augustine Addo
Letter What is the difference between our existing laws and the laws contained in the anti-LGBT law?
MAR 9, 2024 LISTEN

Dear Hon. Sam George,

Religious Human Rights Abuse under Christianity is found in the Old Testament, which is unconstitutional based on the Constitution of Ghana and unchristian based on the New Testament:

i. Daughters of priests or pastors who fornicates must be burned - Leviticus 21:9

ii. Divorced women cannot marry a priest or a pastor - Leviticus 21:7

iii. Adulterers must be put to death - Leviticus 20:10, Deuteronomy 22:22 – 24

iv. Rapists must be put to death - Deuteronomy 22:25 – 27

v. Fornicators must be put to death - Deuteronomy 22:23 - 24

vi. Sexual abuse of slaves is encouraged - Leviticus 19:20 – 22

vii. Unisex wear or crossdressing is not accepted - Deuteronomy 22:5

viii. Thieves can be put to death - Exodus 22:2

ix. Wizards and witches must be put to death - Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 20:27

x. Rebellious children must be put to death because rebelliousness is like witchcraft and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry; therefore, suffer not a witch to live and the rebellious and stubborn children must be put to death - Exodus 21:15 & 17, Leviticus 20:9, Deuteronomy 21:18 – 21, 1 Samuel 15:23

xi. Enslaving people and other nations and the abuse of slaves are justified – Exodus, 21:20 – 21, Exodus 21:27 – 27, Exodus 22:3, Leviticus 25:44

xii. Any eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth - Exodus 21:23 - 25

xiii. Kidnappers must be put to death - Exodus 21:16

xiv. Homosexuals must be put to death - Leviticus 20:13

These laws did not bring the holiness Moses required from the Israelites, and they did not build a holy nation for the Israelites. Rather, due to the harshness of the law, an entire generation was wiped out through the death penalties imposed by the law of Moses, and having done all this, Moses himself was also not allowed to enter the promised land (Numbers 32:13).

i. Did the generation that entered the promised land live righteously, or did they still continue the sins of their fathers?

Jesus, after growing up in a different civilization, which was in Egypt, saw the teachings and laws of the Jews as unfair and unjust when he returned to Judah, his native home. He saw that the rich in society went unpunished and the poor were put to death, together with other minority groups like prostitutes. At age 12, he was seen with the teachers of the law, and his discussions were marvellous to them. He stood against the unfairness of the law by setting the adulterous woman free and gave a parable of a lost sheep, a lost son, and a lost coin, which is the responsibility of every Christian towards any unbeliever. He said a good shepherd must lay down his life for the sheep, and therefore he took the place of Barabbas to allow himself to be judged according to the laws of Moses and was made a curse for everyone so that he would put an end to the law (Romans 10:4 – 6).

i. Now, why is the church building prisons and sponsoring Bills of Parliament requesting for laws that will put sinners in jail?

ii. Can the law and jail set sinners free?

The law and jail cannot set the sinner free, but if Christ sets them free, they shall indeed be free, just like in the case of Barabbas. Christ has set an example for all Christian religious leaders to look for the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son and even die for them if it is necessary. The answers he gave when asked about the law of Moses can be found in Matthew 5:38 – 48 and he gave the parable of the wheat and tares that both should be allowed to grow together. Therefore, it is not right for Christians to persecute unbelievers.

The lawmakers, or parliamentarians, are humans, and the Bible says that no one should put their trust in men because men can fail them. Since this law was made by men, there can be another generation of men who can come and abolish the law. Many traditional laws and Acts of Parliament have been abolished by generations that saw them as outmoded and not in conformity with their time, and that was why the Bible asked the Church not to put their trust in men, but I am shocked to see how the church is rather calling for laws that are made by men and not on their God to save unbelievers.

Religion and law are two different things altogether. Religious offences are termed as ‘sins’, and legal offences are termed as ‘crimes’. What religion may find sinful will not be a crime under the law, and what may not be seen as a crime may be termed sinful under religious beliefs. Fornication is never a crime based on consent under the law, but fornication is a sin even if it is by consent under religious beliefs, meaning that law-making and religion do not go together, and so I wish to advise our religious organisations to leave the process of law-making to the lawmakers because we cannot make law based on religious perceptions and emotions.

2. Our Existing Laws:

The Criminal Code:

i. Chapters 5 & 6 of Part II of the Criminal Code, 1960 (Act 29) deal with child protection under Sections 89 to Section 111, which protect children from abduction, child - stealing, child prostitution, defilement by paedophiles, criminalize bestiality, protect the mentally challenged from sexual abuse, and protect every citizen against unnatural carnal knowledge, rape, and kidnapping, while Sections 277 and 278 are against the keeping of brothels and any act that can be termed as gross indecency in public.

The Marriage Act and the Constitution of Ghana:

i. Although the Marriage Act uses the term ‘parties’, the Constitution of Ghana under Article 7 (1) states that, ‘A woman married to a man who is a citizen of Ghana or a man married to woman…’ Therefore, our constitution makes it clear that marriage can only be between a man and woman, and that clarifies the term ‘parties’ under the Marriage Act (Cap. 127), 1884 – 1985.

ii. Now what is the purpose of this anti-LGBT law, which is an excerpt or portions of the Criminal Code put together and given a different name?

iii. Is it the name given to it that makes it unique from the existing laws because there is nothing contained in this new anti-LGBT law that is not in our existing laws under the Criminal Code, 1960?

The law also targets a group of people, which is unfair in the process of law-making. In the process of law-making, individuals and groups must not be targeted by the law, like the mention of ‘LGBT’. Laws must be applicable to everyone and not just a particular group of persons, and that is one of the elements of law-making that makes a law to be seen as fair or just. Therefore, most laws use the phrase ‘Any person...’ or ‘All persons...’ which makes it applicable to everyone, and I hope you will look at all the things I have mentioned here and give me some good reason in your reply, but please do not use emotions to respond to my questions because nowadays you do not want to accept the views of others pertaining to this matter.

3. Constitutional Provisions:

The anti-LGBT law impedes media freedom and individual reasoning under Article 21(1)(a) and Article 21(1)(b), which state that ‘All persons shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression, which shall include freedom of the press and other media’ and ‘All persons shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and belief, which shall include academic freedom’.

Therefore, the anti-LGBT law prevents the media and scholars from publishing articles and producing documentaries, which may be their expressed views or opinions about the LGBT community, thus having an effect on academic freedom as stated under Article 21 (1) (b) by discouraging academicians or researchers from carrying out academic research concerning the LGBT community, which impedes the freedom of thought, conscience, and beliefs of all citizens to express their opinions about the LGBT community and has an effect on the right to information and education under Article 21 (1)(f) of the constitution.

Article 17 (4)(d) states that ‘Nothing in this article shall prevent Parliament from enacting laws that are reasonably necessary to provide for making different provisions for different communities, having regard to their special circumstances not being provisions, which are inconsistent with the spirit of this Constitution’.

This shows that the framers of the constitution perceived different communities that must be protected by the constitution based on their special needs, requiring parliament to enact laws that are reasonably necessary to address their special circumstances in the spirit of the constitution.

The spirit of the constitution is the protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms, and that can be found under Article 33(5), which states that, ‘The rights, duties, declarations, and guarantees relating to the fundamental human rights and freedoms specifically mentioned in this chapter shall not be regarded as excluding others not specifically mentioned that are considered to be inherent in a democracy and intended to secure the freedom and dignity of man’.

Ghana is now a very polarised country, with business expatriates and their families living on one side of the city, having their own schools, raising their children according to how they wish to groom them in their schools, and having their own education curriculums and they also have their freedom of worship and to promote any culture under Article 26(1) of the constitution, which states that ‘Every person is entitled to enjoy, practice, profess, maintain, and promote any culture, language, tradition, or religion subject to the provisions of this Constitution’.

i. What will happen to crossdressers or metrosexual men who wish to practise their type of fashion, profess that fashion culture, and maintain and promote that culture?

The Ghanaian society has become very polarised after our independence as a nation, and many traditional communities of our country profess different cultures that vary from community to community, just like the research work undertaken by Italo Signorini, which speaks of polyamorous relationships that exist in some Ghanaian cultures, like those of the Nzema people in the Western Region.

Therefore, there is a reason for new considerations in making laws that will recognize the existence of other cultures in our society, which resides in Article 17 (4)(d), which states that ‘Nothing in this article shall prevent Parliament from enacting laws that are reasonably necessary to provide for making different provisions for different communities having regard to their special circumstances not being provisions, which is inconsistent with the spirit of this Constitution’.

Articles 17(1) and 17(2) state that ‘All persons shall be equal before the law’ and ‘A person shall not be discriminated against on grounds of gender, race, colour, ethnic origin, religion, creed, or social or economic status’.

Section 3 and Section 5 of the anti-LGBT law will likely lead to dehumanizing or injurious customary practices that can affect the physical and mental well – being of a person, which is prohibited under Article 26(2) of the constitution, which states that ‘All customary practices that dehumanize or are injurious to the physical and mental well – being of a person are prohibited’.

i. Will Section 5 of the ant-LGBT law not infringe on the rights to privacy of others as stated under Article 18(2), which states that, ‘No person shall be subjected to interference with the privacy of his home, property, correspondence or communication except in accordance with law and as may be necessary in a free and democratic society for public safety or economic well – being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime or for the protection of the rights or freedom of others?’

ii. I have also heard you say a countless number of times that you do not care about what two adults choose to do in their rooms in regard to their right to privacy, but why will you recognize only the aspect of the right to privacy under the Constitution in this matter but fail to recognize the other aspects of the rights and freedoms that they are also entitled to enjoy as citizens of Ghana under our Constitution, or is it because you do not want others to also interfere with your privacy, which is much more important to you than for others to enjoy all the rights and freedoms given to them under the Constitution as citizens of Ghana?

iii. Can you tell me your views about the following court cases?

  1. Attorney General of Botswana v Thuto Rammoge & 19 Others [2016] CACGB, 128 - 14
  2. Canada (AG) v Bedford (2012) ONCA
  3. Aleskseyev and Others v Russia, Nos. 4916/07, 25924/08, 14599/09, 2010
  4. Article 40 of the constitution states that, ‘Government shall seek the establishment of a just and equitable international economic and social order and shall promote respect for international law, treaty obligations, and the settlement of international disputes by peaceful means and shall adhere to the principles and treaties of the UN Charter, AU Charter, the Commonwealth, the ECOWAS Treaty, and any other international organization of which Ghana is a member’.

Ghana has signed many human rights treaties under the UN and was recently elected to the UN Human Rights Council; therefore, Ghana is bound by the human rights treaties of the UN.

i. Will Ghana face strict international sanctions if the President assents to the anti-LGBT law?

ii. How will a country facing a serious economic crisis like Ghana manage itself if strict international sanctions are imposed on the country?

iii. And now what will be the legal action against foreign embassies or foreign missions that provide services for LGBT persons?

iv. And what will be the legal action to be taken against foreigners from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, or any EU country that promotes LGBT rights and freedoms, or any North American who visits Ghana and wishes to profess and maintain their LGBT identity based on Articles 17(2) and 26(1) of the Constitution?

v. Will restrictions be imposed on LGBT people from other countries who wish to visit Ghana?

Article 21(1)(e) of the constitution grants that ‘All persons shall have the right to freedom of association, which shall include freedom to form or join trade unions or other associations, national or international, for the protection of their interests, which is in the spirit of the constitution as stated under Article 33(5), that no one should be excluded from enjoying such rights and freedoms under the constitution.

i. Now, can people form organizations or hold meetings to discuss LGBT issues just like other people meet to discuss other matters of national interest?

ii. Can people or groups use rainbow colours or rainbow flags during their meetings?

iii. What if it is a climate change movement group, a Christian faith-based organization, or a sports club like Accra Hearts of Oak, which uses rainbow colours based on the meaning they ascribe to the rainbow or a rainbow symbol?

iv. And what happens if a person dresses in rainbow colours or wears a rainbow designed shirt?

v. Should preschools use rainbow colours in teaching children about colours, art, and science?

vi. Can LGBT groups take part in processions and demonstrations, which happen to be their fundamental human right and freedom as citizens of Ghana under Article 21 (1)(d), which states that, ‘All persons shall have the right to freedom of assembly, including freedom to take part in processions and demonstrations, which is in the spirit of the constitution that no one should be excluded from enjoying this right?

vii. Will restrictions on their freedom of assembly, which includes freedom to take part in processions and demonstrations as citizens of Ghana, not affect their freedom of movement under Article 21 (1)(g), which states that, ‘All persons shall have the right to freedom of movement, which means the right to move freely in Ghana, the right to leave and enter Ghana and immunity from expulsion from Ghana?’

viii. Can any person acquire a property either alone or in association with others as stated under Article 18 (1) to offer welfare services to LGBT persons based on their duties to others as citizens of Ghana under Article 41 (c), 41 (d) and 41 (g) which states that, ‘The exercise and enjoyment of rights and freedoms is inseparable from the performance of duties and obligations, and accordingly, it shall be the duty of every citizen to foster national unity and live in harmony with others; to respect the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of others, and generally to refrain from doing acts detrimental to the welfare of other persons and to contribute to the well-being of the community where that citizen lives?’

Don’t you think Section 22 (3) of the anti-LGBT law violates the rights of individuals under Article 15 (2) (b) which states that, ‘No persons shall, whether or not he is arrested, restricted or retained, be subjected to any other condition that detracts or is likely to detract from his dignity and worth as a human being’ and which is also in contravention to Article 21 (4) (e) which also states that, ‘Nothing in, or done under the authority of, a law shall be held to be inconsistent with, or in contravention of, this article to the extent that the law in question makes provision that is reasonably required for the purpose of safeguarding the people of Ghana against the teaching or encourages disrespect for the nationhood of Ghana, the national symbol and emblems, or incites hatred against other members of the community except so far as that provision or, as the case may be, the thing done under the authority of that law is shown not to be reasonably justifiable in terms of the spirit of this Constitution.’ Section 22(3) of the anti-LGBT law subjects convicted persons to conditions that detract from or are likely to detract from their dignity and worth as human beings and incite hatred against other members of the community, which is not reasonably justifiable in terms of the spirit of our Constitution.

Section 20 and Section 23 of the anti-LGBT law deal with medical treatment for people who identify themselves based on any of the LGBT orientations, and I wish to know whether Section 167 of the Public Health Act (Act 851), 2012, was taken into consideration?

Since a mentally competent adult has the legal right to refuse medical treatment even if it causes them serious illness or death. This is sometimes the case with a terminal illness in which a person will opt for a higher quality of life over a longer quantity of life.

In the end, no one can force another person to undergo any procedure unless they are deemed mentally incompetent in a court of law or pose a threat to the community if left untreated (such as having Ebola or COVID).

Once ‘informed consent’ is given and a person fully understands the benefits, risks, and alternatives to treatment, they have the right to choose any option they want, including no treatment or to refuse treatment.

Please respond to my letter via email if you find it anywhere. Thanks.

Your fellow citizen,

[email protected]