Anti-LGBTQI+ bill: Parliamentary committee to commence sitting on this date…

The Parliamentary committee handling Ghana’s anti LGBTQI+ Bill will commence sitting next week.

A total of 150 memoranda have been received on the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, 2021, otherwise referred to as anti LGBTQI+ Bill by the public.

The Deputy Chairman of Business Committee, Mr Alexander Afenyo-Markin, who made this known, said the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee of Parliament will, from next week, commence sitting to consider the various memoranda that have been received on the bill against lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) activities in Ghana.

He said the committee will consider 10 memoranda each week for the various interested parties who submitted the memoranda to be heard on the bill.
After hearing all the stakeholders, he said the members of the committee will prepare a report and submit same to Parliament for consideration and “for us to make progress”.

Mr Afenyo-Markin, who is also the Deputy Majority Leader, stated this in response to a request by the First Deputy Minority Whip, Mr Ibrahim Ahmed, who sought to know the roadmap to the passage or otherwise of the bill.

Response

Answering, Mr Afenyo-Markin said the sitting would ensure that all parties had a fair hearing before Parliament proceeded on the bill.

He said he had been informed about steps the committee had taken so far.

“Per my calculation, if they are doing 10 memoranda weekly, we do not know if any more memoranda will come, then it means we are looking at 15 weeks for the hearings to be done,” he told the House.

It is projected that the third meeting of the first session of the Eighth Parliament will be dominated by the bill.

So far, both parties on each side of Parliament have publicly thrown their weight behind the passage of the bill but agreed on the need for some amendments to be made in the bill to fine tune it ahead of its possible passage.

Majority stance

On Wednesday, October 13, 2021, the Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, gave an assurance that Parliament would not disappoint Ghanaians in the consideration and passage of the bill that seeks to criminalise LGBTQI+ activities in Ghana.

He said MPs were representatives of the people for which reason the citizenry should rest assured that Parliament would not turn its back on them.

Speaking to the press in Parliament to state the stance of the Majority on the bill, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, who is also the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, expressed doubt that any lawmaker would be against the principles of the bill.

While giving the assurance that Parliament would do the right thing with regard to the bill, the Majority Leader, however, said there was the need for a “careful balance” in assessing it.

Minority’s position

Just two days after the press conference by the Majority, the Minority caucus also held a similar conference on Friday, October 15, 2021 in Parliament, where the Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, stated that his side was resolutely opposed to the introduction, formalisation and legalisation of LGBTQI+ practices and rights in Ghana.

“As representatives of the Ghanaian people, MPs have an obligation to protect the moral fibre of the Ghanaian society and promote the cohesion, unity and preserve Ghana’s time-tested cultural practices and beliefs which have kept us together as one country,” the Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, said when he addressed a press conference in Accra on Friday, October 15, 2021.

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