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Opinions of Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

On Gay Marriage, Pianim's Views Are Embarrassingly Passe

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

I don't know that anybody has any right to determine the sexuality or sexual orientation of another person, or group of persons, under the Fourth-Republican Constitution of Ghana, the way Mr. Kwame Pianim and others seem imperiously obligated to (See "I Believe in Gay Civil Partnerships - Kwame Pianim" 2/26/13).

It is also rather parochially absurd the way in which Mr. Pianim defines gay marriage, which is as follows: "Civil partnership means that two gay people can stay together without [people] saying: What are you doing together?" This is the kind of hypocritical condonement that President Barack H. Obama recently disposed of, summarily, when the American leader signed into law and immediate proscription the hitherto "Don't ask, don't tell" credo for gays and lesbians enlisted in the U.S. military.

Further, Mr. Pianim is quoted as saying: "I do not believe that they should be given the title of marriage. Marriage is for procreation first and foremost, and for raising children; therefore, if you say that somebody is going to get married and [you] don't have in view procreation, to me as a Catholic, I cannot support that."

First of all, let's get this right: Kwame Pianim is first and foremost an Asante/Akan boy before all else; and so maybe he ought to be discussing the institution of marriage as it pertains to the Akan and, perhaps, Ghanaians in general. Secondly, I hope Mr. Pianim is not presuming that it was adherents of the Roman Catholic religion who invented the very concept and institution of marriage. And thirdly, he ought to be talking marriage within the context of Ghana's Fourth-Republican Constitution and stop mixing religion with politics. And finally, I would rather the SENIOR NPP MEMBER focused his attention on the insufferable rampancy of pedophilia, and other forms of gay-sexual violence among the top-hierarchy of the global Roman Catholic Church, the cynical condonement and clerical preservation of whose obduracy may well have prompted the abrupt resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, aka Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Maintaining his high-and-mighty posture on the question of gay marriages is rather bizarre, to be extremely diplomatic.

It is also rather petty and parochial of Mr. Pianim, to speak much less about the downright callow and shallow, for the decidely vehement anti-gay critic to insist that "marriage is for procreation first and foremost, and [then] for raising children." If, indeed, he is the sort of devout Roman Catholic Christian that he publicly claims to be, then, really, Mr. Pianim has his concept of marital priority woefully reversed. For sex, or conjugal engagement, is fundamentally what induces procreation or, in our particular context, human reproduction. It is the long-term outcome of the latter, that of the raising of children, which Christian Civilization seeks to rationalize and regulate within the institution of marriage, as propagated by the Church and practiced by devout Christians and non-Christians alike.

And what would the critic say about the globally remarkable percentage of married couples who have either voluntarily decided not to procreate, or simply cannot procreate, or are simply beyond the prime age range of procreativity? Let us also get one thing loud and clear - marriage is any form of bonding that is deemed to be mutually acceptable and societally sanctioned as such. What this means is that every society, depending on its level of enlightenment, determines what constitutes conjugal legality or marriage.

I think it is this very post-modern concept of marriage that "proto-conservative" Ghanaians, and continental Africans, like Mr. Pianim appear to find next to the hermetically impossible to fathom. And this is rather a pity!

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Department of English
Nassau Community College of SUNY
Garden City, New York
March 10, 2013