Parliament passed a ‘harsher’ Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill – Gabby Otchere-Darko

A prominent figure within the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko has voiced his reservations regarding the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill, commonly referred to as the Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill, recently passed by Parliament.

Expressing his concerns, Mr Otchere-Darko criticised the perceived severity of the bill, arguing that it fails to align with the needs of the Ghanaian populace and the fundamental rights of individuals.

He advocated for a public discourse to weigh the merits and drawbacks of the proposed legislation, highlighting the importance of engaging in an open dialogue on such sensitive matters.

Taking to X (formerly Twitter) on Friday, March 1, Mr Otchere-Darko cautioned against the potential repercussions of enacting the bill into law.

Despite acknowledging the country’s stance against such practices, he emphasised the need for a balanced approach, acknowledging the stringent nature of the legislation.

Overall, his remarks underscore the complexity surrounding the issue and the necessity for careful consideration of its implications for various stakeholders.

“Ghana’s parliament, which is vested in the sovereign will of the people, has democratically passed a harsher anti-LGBTQ Bill. Yes, democratically! In fact, the threat of being unseated for standing for the rights of gays, etc, certainly created its own culture of silence in the House! But, it is the decision of Parliament and one which enjoys huge popular support in the country. The world must understand that. But, Ghanaians must also understand that it comes with consequences. Choices have consequences.”

“We expect the media and the politicians to be fair to the people by letting them know the pros and cons of this decision to impose stiffer penalties against gays, etc. We also expect those who believe the bill is constitutionally wrong to do what is right and go to court.”

“That is democracy! Our institutions of democracy are still strong and alive. Let’s have faith in our democracy. Let’s respect the choices we make and their consequences, and believe in the process. Ghana remains a sovereign state, with cultural norms that cannot be wished away but must be respected. I still believe, though, that we can balance our traditional family values with our traditional values of tolerance and diversity. That’s the Ghanaian way. The Ghanaian culture. The Ghanaian spirit. Our history. Our DNA. That is Ghanaian,” he posted.

On February 28, 2024, Parliament approved a bill criminalizing LGBTQ activities and prohibiting their promotion, advocacy, and funding.

Under the legislation, individuals convicted of such acts could be sentenced to 6 months to 3 years in prison, while those promoting or sponsoring such activities could face 3 to 5 years behind bars.

The bill’s passage has sparked criticism from various stakeholders, including Virginia Evelyn Palmer, the Ambassador of the United States to Ghana.

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