The Ghanaian Parliament has made an unequivocal, unanimous move towards the reinforcement of traditional family values and the preservation of proper human sexual rights with the recent approval and adoption of the “Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, 2021.” This legislative move is seen as a bold step that upholds the purity of Ghana’s cultural norms and value systems, particularly against the growing global trend of recognizing and advocating for same-sex relationships.
Chairman of the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and also Member for Asante Akim Central, Mr. Kwame Anyimadu-Antwi, highlighted the point that, despite the considerable support this bill has amongst Ghanaians, there is a critical need to be cognizant of significant human rights concerns. The presentation of the bill on August 2, 2021, marked the commencement of a critical dialogue and marked the second reading of this groundbreaking legislation.
Designed as a 25-clause private members’ bill, it ambitiously aims to define the boundaries of proper human sexual rights and Ghanaian family values. Furthermore, it actively proscribes same-sex relationships and forbids any advocacy, propaganda, or promotion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex (LGBTQI+) related activities. The bill presents itself as a protector and supporter of children, individuals who are victims of or accused of same-sex activities, and other related issues.
The process of deliberation over the bill was thoroughly democratic, with the reception of over 200 memoranda both for and against the Bill from a variety of religious groups and rights groups. This led to nine public hearings that allowed a diverse range of voices to be heard. Mr. Anyimadu-Antwi explained that these public hearings were influential in guiding modifications to the bill, including a change to its title, now known as the Promotion of Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill, 2021.
In concluding his report to the house, Mr. Anyimadu-Antwi pointed out that the Catholic Bishops Conference’s engagement with the committee led to the adage, “God loves the doer but hates the act.” While the Ghanaian society condemns same-sex relationships, the Bishops emphasized the importance of efforts aimed at reforming individuals engaged in these activities.
Backing the motion, Vice Chair of the Committee and MP for Akatsi South, Bernard Ahiafor, highlighted the potential threat to the future of procreation if same-sex relationships were allowed. In a bid to respect Ghanaian cultural values, he pointed out that even plants and animals procreate between male and female, thereby challenging the notion of same-sex relationships as a human right. He further emphasized his position by comparing the societal acceptance of polygamy in Ghana, seen as unacceptable in Europe, predicting the extinction of countries that embrace same-sex relationships within the next 50 years.
Adding to the discourse, Member for Asawase, Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka, described same-sex relationships as “madness” and made a fervent call for Africa to reject any attempts to normalize such practices. The strong unanimous stand by the Ghanaian Parliament is a clear sign of their commitment to uphold and preserve traditional Ghanaian cultural values and norms. It also brings into the limelight the global conversation on the boundaries of human rights and cultural values, particularly as it pertains to same-sex relationships.