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Feature Article of Sunday, 30 May 2010

Columnist: The Royal Enoch

Same Sex Marriage: A Ghanaian Perspective

Perhaps, some of you would agree that we Ghanaians live in a culture of silence. A silence which we have, of course, imposed upon ourselves. Undoubtedly, there are certain things in our country, which we all seem to know about. However, due to certain unexplainable reasons--we have chosen to keep them in the closet. I don't know what it is about we Ghanaians. It seems to me that we are too afraid to face reality right in the face. Also, our unwillingness to open up to certain things has crippled us emotionally. We have this funny idea that silence is synonymous to absence, albeit untrue. Quite recently, Ghana-web published an article on homosexuality. The article, in my opinion, was not all that controversial. I was, nevertheless, overwhelmed by the many comments--which flooded the article. Obviously, there were so many people who were offended by it. Others called for Ghana-web to be totally banned. As usual, the insults were many. Our Christian visitors on Ghana-web dusted their Bibles and started preaching. Bible verses were seen flying to and fro like bullets in flight. Unanimously, homosexuality was utterly condemned by both our Christian and Muslim brothers and sisters.

Also, what took me by surprise was the level of hate, which came from both our Muslim and Christian brothers and sisters. Some of them were calling for our gay brothers and sisters to be killed. According to them, homosexuality is an abominable act. God, they argued, is anti-gay. Therefore, all homosexuals are worthy of one thing--death. Now, I don't know if God is a God of love or hate. Indeed, if God is a God of love, then one should expect him to love everybody--including homosexuals. And if God is a God of hate, then one should expect him to hate everybody. Religious people are convinced that God created everything. They would move heaven and earth to prove this point to you. However, when asked about the origin of homosexuality, they would tell you that God didn't create that. Apparently, our religious brothers and sisters are either in denial, or confused about the true nature of this God. I am an atheist. I try to approach the questions of life scientifically. What science reveals is that human sexuality, or sexual preference begins in the womb. Meaning, human sexuality, or sexual preference isn't a choice--but something which we humans are born with. In short, gay people didn't ask to be born gay--just like how straight people didn't ask to be born straight. Things simply came out that way.

Freedom of speech used to mean freedom of choice. Regrettably, our right-wing religious conservatives don't see it that way. According to them, homosexuals should have the freedom to speak, but they should be denied the freedom to choose. Marriage, they argue, is for heterosexuals only. Once again, our right-wing religious conservatives use the Bible and the Holy Qur'an to support this argument. What our religious brothers and sisters fail to understand is that religion is a private matter. Meaning, the laws in the Bible and the Holy Qur'an--which concern marriage--is for believers only. Simply because; society is governed by societal laws--not by religious laws from either the Bible or the Holy Qur'an. Things would've been different, though, if society was governed by religious laws--but this is not the case. Therefore, in any true democracy, in which freedom equals to choice and the right to choose--marriage should be open to all without exclusion. In Ghana, it's a taboo to be either a homosexual or a lesbian. This does not mean, however, that the country doesn't have homosexuals, on the contrary. There are so many closet homosexuals and lesbians in Ghana and abroad. We all know this--only we've chosen not to talk about it because of the shame factor involved. We Ghanaians like to tell ourselves that homosexuality is a European thing, when we all know that this isn't the truth.

Homosexuality was present in our ancestor's time--it's still here today. Therefore, the notion that homosexuality is a white man's thing is both racist and preposterous. It's a known fact that most girls, who attend an all girls Boarding school, engage in lesbianism. Some of these girls graduate from these Boarding schools to become loving mothers with a lesbian past. Also, most of the boys, who attend an all boys Boarding school, engage in homosexuality. They too graduate from these Boarding schools with a little secret of their own. Even our military has gay men in it. And let's not forget the Ghanaian men, who engage in gay prostitution in diaspora to send money home. Most of these men, mind you, have wives on the side as well. So, please, let's put aside our hypocrisy. Let's not act as if homosexuality is non existent in Ghana. We would be deceiving ourselves if we do. Also, let our religious brothers and sisters understand that it's heterosexuals who give birth to gay people. Therefore, to call for the death of all gay people would be to call for the death of all heterosexuals. Personally, I feel that gay people should be free to live out their lives freely amongst us without the fear of being persecuted. Ghana cannot call itself a country, which believes in freedom, as long as it continues to persecute some of its children because of their sexual orientation or preference. Gay people, by the way, are not the biggest threat to society. The biggest threat to society, I believe, is religious fanatics.

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