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Opinions of Monday, 19 July 2010

Columnist: Augustrian

Gay Rights: A Ghanaian Perspective

Ghana, I believe, should be dragged before the United nations for human rights violation. Some of you, by now, maybe wondering if this is some kind of a joke. After all, isn't Ghana a democratic country where freedom of expression reigns supreme? Well, it's true that Ghana believes in freedom of expression--there is no doubt about it. The country's constitution, in fact, makes it a right. It seems, though, that whilst freedom of expression is respected and treasured by all--not everybody agrees when it comes to freedom of choice.

Some are convinced that freedom of expression and freedom of choice are separable, albeit debatable. Both of them, in my opinion, are one and the same. Freedom of expression, in my view, is a choice which freedom allows. Freedom of choice is also a privilege which freedom allows. So, in essence, it's all about the freedom to be or not be--which the individual ultimately decides for him/herself. By the way, freedom of choice is also a person's constitutional right. Now, what is human rights, and what makes these rights so important? Human rights, according me, is simply allowing any human being to be what he/she is born to be. Simply put; rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled.

According to the United nations universal declaration of human rights: "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason, conscience, and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood." No where in this declaration, mind you, does it state that a person's sexual preference or religious conviction should matter. What this declaration clearly stipulates is that all humans beings should be treated nondiscriminatory. Simply because; according to this declaration, all human beings are born free and equal. Meaning, the same rights--which are accorded to our heterosexual brothers and sisters, should be granted to our gay brothers and sisters nondiscriminatory. Anything proposed otherwise should be deemed a denial of a person's sacred right. Better yet, it should be deemed an obstruction of a person's freedom to be or not to be. Which, in my opinion, equals to slavery. Of course, a denial of person's sacred right could be placed in the same category as a right violated. Further, this declaration makes it very clear that human beings are endowed with reason and conscience. Thus, should act in such a manner, in which none is troubled or made to suffer.

Our country is governed by certain principles. These principles, as you all know, are embedded in the nation's Constitution. The Constitution embodies the totality of the powers of the government by the governed. In short, our Constitution safeguards the rights and dignity of each and everyone of us. Also, not only does our Constitution grant us the right to choose, it also strongly opposes any element--which may attempt to violate this choice. Now, under our Constitution--there is no gay, straight, believer, or non believer. The constitution acknowledges all equally--all are human beings. The constitutional rights of each and everyone of these human beings are deemed sacred. Regrettably, whilst our Constitution upholds the rights of all equally--some of our laws, on the other hand, do not. Under a normal circumstance, the laws of the land should operate in conjunction with the Constitution--but not in Ghana. In Ghana, for instance, homosexuality is a crime--even though our Constitution doesn't see it a such. In our Constitution--freedom of choice isn't a crime, but a privilege--which none should be denied. So, the question is; why does the law forbid what the Constitution obviously doesn't?

None should put asunder, in my view, what the Constitution has joined together. The Constitution doesn't discriminate. If anything, it opposes any form of discrimination, especially when it concerns a person's choice or preference. So why, then, do we have laws--which work against the Constitution? Better yet, should the laws work in conjunction with the Constitution or against the Constitution? Discrimination, mind you, violates human rights. Human rights violation violates our Constitution. Unquestionably, anyone who violates the Constitution commits a crime. Which means that since it's a crime to violate the Constitution, anyone who discriminates against another person based on that person's choice is a criminal. In short; it's unconstitutional, criminal, and illegal for any law to forbid homosexuality in Ghana. Simply because; the Constitution grants each and everyone of us the freedom to choose--the freedom of choice. To those amongst us who oppose gay rights-- my question is; how would you feel if your rights to be who you are was opposed?

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Source: Augustrian