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LGBTQI+ members in Ghana face physical, verbal abuse by intolerant people – Suhuyini

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Member of Parliament for Tamale North, Alhassan Suhuyini

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Tamale North Member of Parliament, Alhassan Suhuyini, has added his voice to the ongoing discussions on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex (LGBTQI).

He indicated that the biggest problem LGBTQI members face in Ghana is the physical, verbal abuse, and harassment at the hands of some of the 93% of the population who he said are intolerant of their activities.

“The biggest problem LGBTTQQIAAP members face in Ghana is the physical, verbal abuse and harassment at the hands of some of the 93% of our population who are intolerant of their activities, which by the way is already criminal under section 104 of our criminal code,” he said.

He added “Decriminalization will not convert some of this 93% who abuse them to stop abusing/harassing them. Clause 22 of our bill which will criminalize attacks and abuse against people accused of LGBTTQQIAAP can protect them. So if you care about their safety and rights this bill.”

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A leading member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Gabby Otchere Darko has asked former President John Dramani Mahama to state his position on the current anti-gay bill before parliament.

He questioned whether Mr. Mahama is for or against the bill.

“Is former President and presidential aspirant John Mahama for or against the Boy George Bill?” the former Executive Director of the Danquah Institute asked in a tweet on Monday, October 11.

The Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill was laid in the House on Monday, August 2, and read for the first time.

Reading for the first time, a clerk in the legislative assembly stated that the Bill prescribes lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI) and other related activities and propaganda or advocacy and promotion for same.

It also came to light that it supports protection for children and persons who are victims or accused of homosexuality.

Second Deputy Speaker Andrew Asiamah Amoako referred the Bill to the Constitutional, Legal, and Parliamentary Committee for consideration.

“For the first time, it is referred to the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for consideration and report,” Mr. Asiamah Amoako, who is also the MP for Fomena, directed.

The controversial anti-gay bill has already divided opinion in the Ghanaian public discourse.

While some, particularly the religious and traditional groupings, have supported the Bill and are hopeful of its passing, others say it could incur the wrath of the international community against Ghana.

Private legal practitioner, Mr. Akoto Ampaw, has said that the current debate on homosexuals in Ghana is not about religious beliefs or numbers.

According to him, this is about human rights issues.

Speaking on the Key Points on TV3/3FM on Saturday, October 9 with Azifa Bampo, Akoto Ampaw said “First of all, I want to make the point clear that this debate is not about religious beliefs.

“Secondly, this debate is not about numbers. It is not lining up how many people support gays -30million, how many people are against gay – 2million, that is not the issue.

“The fundamental issue has to do with our constitution and rights. That is the basic issue that we have to address.”

He added “It is a bit gratifying that just recently the Majority leader in Parliament said that the matter will not be discussed on the basis of religious beliefs. I think that is a major step forward if that is how parliament is going to address this matter. It is a constitutional matter.”

His comments come after religious bodies including the Ghana Catholic Bishop Conference have said that want homosexuality to be illegal in Ghana.

The Bishops described the practice as an abomination on the basis of scriptures in the Holy Bible.

“As a Church, we want this abominable practice made illegal in our country… The Bible, which is foundational to Christian beliefs and practices, condemns the practice,”

“Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered towards an intrinsic moral evil, and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder…

“The Church rejects the unfounded and demeaning assumption that the sexual behaviour of homosexual persons is always and very compulsive and, therefore, they should not be blamed for their homosexual acts,” a statement they issued said.

It added “Nevertheless, according to the Church’s understanding of human rights, the rights of homosexuals as persons do not include the right of a man to marry a man or of a woman to marry a woman. For the Church, this is morally wrong and goes against God’s purpose for marriage.

We should also point out that the European Court for Human Rights has ruled that same-sex “marriages” are not considered a human right, making it clear that homosexual partnerships do not in fact equal marriages between a man and a woman. The ruling was announced 9th June 2016 in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.”

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