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Opinions of Saturday, 11 August 2018

Columnist: Daily Graphic

Same-sex marriage? NO!

Same-sex marriage, arguably, is one issue that has courted a huge controversy around the world in recent times.

It has generated a lot of debate from several perspectives, including legal, political, socio-cultural, religious and, in some countries, even constitutional.

It is so delicate that discussions on it are approached with the utmost carefulness if one does not want to be seen to be insulting the sensibilities of one’s audience and consequently court their anger.

The often mono-directional approach to the debate makes it all the time messy, especially because it has generally failed to look at how respect for culture and traditional rites and beliefs can be maintained, while at the same time failing to address the real import of the myopic meaning of equality of intimate partnerships for all.

The Daily Graphic does not intend to wade into that murky argument, but we can say that no real Ghanaian who is steeped in the socio-cultural and religious lifestyle and beliefs of the land will support same-sex marriage. The average person will vehemently resist any overt or covert means to sensitise the people to or introduce the practice in the country.

A few years before the 2016 elections, the topic was extensively discussed, causing tensions to rise among the people.

So when the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in an interview on Al Jazeera a few months into taking office, broached the issue from a question posed to him by the host, his answer generated a lot of controversy and criticism from a section of the public.

Apparently, his general exposition on the subject, instead of a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer that was expected by some people, brought uneasiness to the populace.

Some elements of society, especially within the political class, took advantage to peddle stories about the plan by the government to legalise same-sex marriage.

In April this year the Office of the President came out to disabuse the minds of people about comments to that effect.

But, even after that, references to the matter would not die off.

Understandably, the clergy of both the Islamic and the Christian faiths, warned of dire consequences if the country decided to legalise same-sex marriage.

But at the opening of the Synod of the Global Evangelical Church yesterday, the President spoke to the satisfaction and expectation of most Ghanaians when he declared that the “government has no plans to change the law on same-sex marriage. We have no authority and we will not seek any authority to do so”.

With this assurance, the people can now heave sighs of relief that at least within the next couple of years the vexed question of whether we will legalise same-sex marriage or not has been settled.

The Daily Graphic would want to reiterate the fact that Ghana is a religious country, with adherents of the various religions against same-sex marriage, and so society should see that as such. We admonish that we should not in any way imitate blind cultures in the name of human rights and equality, only to turn our society away from what makes people elsewhere secretly admire us.

Real and proper development takes place within a cultural context; we should thus cherish our time-tested values and never follow others blindly, only to regret some day.