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General News of Monday, 26 July 2021


We‘ll live with it if Parliament passes anti-gay bill – GBA president

Tony Forson is president of the Ghana Bar Association Tony Forson is president of the Ghana Bar Association

President of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) Mr Tony Forson has said the association will have no option but to live with an anti-gay bill currently before Parliament if it is passed.

He said in an interview with TV3’s Komla Kluste that the lawmakers should be allowed to argue forcefully for or against the bill on the floor in order to arrive at a good decision that is in the collective interest of the public.

Portions of the draft bill reads: “A person who, by use of media, technological platform, technological account or any other means, produces, procures, markets, broadcasts, disseminates, publishes or distributes a material for purposes of promoting an activity prohibited under the Bill, or a person uses an electronic device, the Internet service, a film, or any other device capable of electronic storage or transmission to produce, procure, market, broadcast, disseminate, publishes or distribute a material for purposes of promoting an activity prohibited under the Bill commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a term of imprisonment of not less than five years and not more than ten years.”

Mr Forson said: “Parliament is our collective wisdom, so I believe that every constituency, that is every grouping, has its representatives in Parliament and whatever, as the president said, if it is critical mass which is against it or for it, I believe that the representatives in Parliament must be given the necessary ammunition to be able to argue so that our collective consciousness as a country will be manifest in the decision of Parliament.

“So, it is before Parliament, they are our elected representatives and whatever they come out with I think we have to live with it.”

Asked whether he has problems with the bill, he said: “I will be honest with you, I have not seen all of it, I just got it yesterday so I have read about 12 pages of the bill, whether I have problems with it or not we will make it known to my MP at the end of the reading."

When he was asked again whether or not homosexuality should be criminalized he answered “I am not going to answer that question.”

Meanwhile, former Executive Director of the Danqua Institute, Gabby Asare Otchere Darko has said the activities of homosexuals are already illegal in Ghana.

He said the bill that has been sent to Parliament will only lead to Ghana being blacklisted for promoting hate.

“Gay+ activities are already illegal in our country. But, we aren’t known to hate. The President has given his word he won’t legalise it.

“This Bill only serves one purpose: to get Ghana blacklisted for promoting hate! Surely, the promoters of the Bill can’t say they aren’t aware,” the leading member of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) said in a tweet.

Ningo Prampram lawmaker Sam George and some other lawmakers are sponsoring an anti-LGBT+ Bill in Parliament.

Sam George is receiving flak from some quarters for sponsoring the anti-LGBT+ agenda.

For instance, Ghanaian musician Sister Derby who is also a known advocate of LGBT+ rights in Ghana said the MP was: “obsessed with people’s sexual orientation” and tagged him as a "pervert and backward thinker.”

But he has said his is opened to intellectual debate on the anti-LGBT+ Bill he and some of his colleague lawmakers are sponsoring.

Speaking on TV3’s News 360 on Friday July 23, he said emotional outbursts have no place in legislation.

“We are opened to intellectual criticisms or criticisms and suggestions grounded in law. Emotional outburst emotional comments have no place in legislation

“In any body has intellectual suggestions or addition we are willing to debate the issue.”

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