General News of Thursday, 7 February 2013

Source: Joy Online

Constitution frowns upon gay rights- Justice Minister-designate

Minister of Justice-designate has stated categorically that Ghana’s constitution does not recognize gay rights and has asked all who believe in the rights of gays to proceed to the Supreme Court for interpretation.

Marietta Appiah Oppong’s view of the law is in sharp contrast to her colleague Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur, who does not support the practice of gay but is convinced their rights and the rights of all other Ghanaians, guaranteed by the constitution must be protected.

The Justice Minister-designate told the vetting committee of Parliament on Thursday that the position of the law on homosexuality is clear-“unnatural canal knowledge is a criminal offence,” she reiterated.

Some lawyers, including John Ndebugri have stated that the section 104 of the Criminal Offences Act which the Justice Minister-designate quoted copiously does not fully address the practice of homosexuality in Ghana.

He said for instance, that the section 104 of the Criminal Offences Act will crumble in the face of the practice of lesbianism, an aspect of homosexuality, because in lesbianism, practitioners do not use their penis in the act, because they have none.

The Justice Minister-designate was however brief in her remarks about homosexuality but was unequivocal in proffering her personal opinion on the act. “I disapprove of it,” she said.

Marietta Appiah Oppong also condemned the practice of death sentence, saying it has no use in Ghana’s statute books.

There are calls for the death sentence to be applied in Ghana so that people who commit murder will be killed in return so as to act as a deterrent to like minds and also to heal the wounds and emotions of the immediate families of the murder victim.

But Mrs Oppong said the strong arguments for the support of the death sentence which are retribution and deterrence have all been disproved by research.

According to her, research has shown that people do not necessarily have their wounds or emotions healed even after the murderer has been murdered by the state.

Countless research have shown again that the death sentence does not necessarily prevent like minds from murdering, she added.

Marietta Appiah Oppong rather advocated for “life imprisonment without parole,” for people convicted for murder.

Even though judgement debt questions were asked by members of the committee, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament who chaired the vetting committee Ebo Barton Oduro, prevented the nominee from answering the questions with the explanation that there is a judgement debt commission hearing issues of judgement debt.