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Why Christianity, Islam will have no say in passage of anti-LGBTQ+ bill

Fri, 8 Oct 2021 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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• Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu says the approval or otherwise of the bill hinges on the values of the Ghanaian society

• He says religion will play no role in the decision by the MPs

• He declined to disclose his position on the matter


When the debate on the passage or otherwise of the “Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill of 2021" begins later this month in Parliament, the focus of the discussion will not be on what one's religious faith says about the topic but rather what the Ghanaian society says about it.

According to the leader of the majority caucus in Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the constitution bars MPs from debating issues based on their religious preferences.

He explained in an Okay FM interview that the constitution holds highly the values and norms of the indigenous Ghanaian society and that is what will inform their argument on the bill.

He disclosed that this is done to avert possible discrimination and also ensure that one religion is not given priority over the other.

“The constitution frowns on using the teachings Christian or Islam to make judgments. The constitution says we should use our values and norms as Ghanaians. We are going to handle this issue devoid of religion. It will not be decided by Christianity or Islam.

“I’m saying that because if use religion, you’ll be setting a precedent whereby one religion can wake up and protest against something because it's an affront to their teachings. It could lead to chaos in the country. We should allow our values and culture as Ghanaians to prevail in these things. It will be devoid of any religious inclinations,” he said.

Whiles his compatriot on the minority side, Haruna Iddrisu has declared his support for the bill, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu says it will be wrong on his part to do same.

According to him, with his position as leader of government business in Parliament, his views could be interpreted as the position of the government on the matter.

He will therefore shelve whatever view he has on the issue until the debate begins in Parliament when they resume later this month.

“When we talk of parliament the majority leader is the leader of the house. So if I declare a position now, it will be interpreted as the position of parliament, to either mean that the house is in support of the bill or we are against it,” he stated.

The 38-page bill before parliament, among other things, stipulates that people of the same-sex who engage in sexual intercourse are “liable on summary conviction, to a fine of not less than seven hundred and fifty penalty units and not more than five thousand penalty units, or to a term of imprisonment of not less than three years and not more than five years or both.”

The Bill targets persons who “hold out as a lesbian, a gay, a transgender, a transsexual, a queer, a pansexual, an ally, a non-binary or any other sexual or gender identity that is contrary to the binary categories of male and female.”

The Bill also targets promoters and advocates of LGBTQ+ rights including “a person who, by use of media, technological platform, technological account or any other means, produces, procures, markets, broadcasts, disseminates, publishes or distributes a material for purposes of promoting an activity prohibited under the Bill, or a person uses an electronic device, the Internet service, a film, or any other device capable of electronic storage or transmission to produce, procure, market, broadcast, disseminate, publishes or distribute a material for purposes of promoting an activity prohibited under the Bill” as well as a person who “promotes, supports sympathy for or a change of public opinion towards an act prohibited under the Bill.”

As part of its provisions, the Bill outlines that a flouter can be sentenced to a jail term of not less than six years or not more than ten years imprisonment.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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