The Battle for or Against Homosexual Rights in Ghana.

Sat, 25 Jul 2015 Source: Dekportor, Mensah

The recent court case in which Dr. Ali Sulley Gabass was found guilty by the court of defiling a 16 year old boy and sentenced to 25 years imprisonment raised interesting issues on where the battle for or against homosexual rights in Ghana is going to be won or lost. In countries where battles for homosexual rights have been waged the courts and legislative institutions have been the primary arena for such battles.

The battles have not been won or lost based on pronouncements for or against homosexual rights by Presidents as is being advocated by the Christian Council and other pressure groups in Ghana. In the U.S for instance the battles have primarily been waged in the courts and the legislature culminating in the recent U.S Supreme Court decision endorsing same sex marriages.

Thus the position taken by the judge on the issue of “unnatural carnal knowledge” in the Dr. Gabass case is what should be of concern to those who are against the legalization of homosexual rights in Ghana. The judge interestingly freed Dr. Gabass on the charge of unnatural carnal knowledge of the 16 year old boy and rather took refuge in finding him guilty of defilement. That is significant. In the implied view of the judge therefore there was nothing unnatural about the sexual acts that took place between Dr. Gabass and the boy.

So for the Christian Council and other pressure groups who are genuinely interested in waging and winning the battle against legalization of homosexual rights in Ghana, the key institution for them to watch is the judiciary.No presidential pronouncement can overturn a court’s decision endorsing homosexual rights in Ghana. Therefore pressures being mounted on President Mahama to declare his stand on homosexual rights in Ghana amounts to nothing but the usual political posturing that the Christian Council and certain pressure groups unfortunately get themselves involved in occasionally in Ghana.The real focus of the Christian Council and other pressure groups that are genuinely interested in the fight against legalization of homosexual rights should rather be on the courts and to some extent Parliament. Of course the executive comes into focus in the unlikely situation where fresh legislation endorsing homosexual rights are to be introduced. We are yet to reach that stage in Ghana.

For now one of the key battle grounds for homosexual rights in Ghana is on the law of “unnatural carnal knowledge” as it relates to sexual acts by homosexuals in Ghana. On this issue it appears the judge in the Dr. Gabass case has given a boost to homosexual rights by freeing Dr. Gabass of not being guilty of unnatural carnal knowledge of the boy despite the obvious nature of sexual acts that he perpetrated on him.

Therefore the real battle ground for or against homosexual rights in Ghana would be in the courts in years to come and not in the political arena as some would want us to believe. The position that the courts take on the issue is what is critical.

It appears that the fact that Dr. Gabass was involved with a minor in the case offered the judge an escape route to fall on defilement to convict Dr. Gabass to satisfy the interest of the huge anti gay rights support base in Ghana.

Generally, the courts in Ghana appear not to realize the leadership role they can play in shaping the conscience of society with their decisions. They generally tend to sacrifice the national interest in favour of narrow and parochial interests in their decisions. They for instance are not passionate about protecting the national purse (Woyome case) neither are they willing to take the bold decisions that shape the conscience of society as was demonstrated in the Dr. Gabass case. We should thus place a bigger spotlight on what goes on in our courts in order to get our judges to play the positive role in nation building in Ghana that is required of them.

The other interesting angle to the Dr. Gabass case is that the Judge found him guilty of defilement. This impliedly means that homosexual acts can be considered as acts of defilement and criminalized especially when minors are involved, so those engaged in such acts should also watch out.

God Bless our Homeland, Ghana

Report By:

Mensah Dekportor (Hamburg- Germany)

Email: cmdekportor@gmail.com

Columnist: Dekportor, Mensah