President must sign anti-LGBTQ bill quickly – Rev. Dr Opuni Frimpong

The Reverend Dr Opuni Frimpong, a former General Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana, has added his voice to calls on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to assent the newly-passed anti-LGBTQ bill 'as soon as possible'. Speaking on Accra-based Citi FM on Saturday, he said the matter was of 'national concern and must attract a national response from the President.' Parliament on Wednesday, February 28, 2024, passed the Promotion of Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill (anti-LGBTQ bill) after the third reading. The bill, when signed by the President, will among other things, prohibit lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ+) and related activities. It also places a jail term of up to five years on convicts. Rev Opuni said just as the country's forebears fought for independence, the Parliament of Ghana deemed it appropriate to protect family values with the passage of the bill, which coincided with the commemoration of the 28th February Crossroad shooting. He said the bill had gon e through various stages of consultations, discussions and debates, therefore, the President should not 'break the cycle'. 'All that we are asking the President is that he must assent to the bill as early as possible so that we celebrate 28th February both in Parliament and from the office of the President also.' He said Ghana must not condone LGBTQ+ practices although it had been accepted in other nations. He said the Church was not 'a gathering of saints' however; the quest to take a stand on LGBTQ emerged when other nations sought to 'impose' the practice, contrary to accepted social norms in Ghana. 'We are not running away from the fact that all manner of sexual practices prevail in our country and in our churches, but if you ask us to make it part of our cultural norms, that is what we are taking about,' he said. Rev Opuni said President Akufo-Addo must not delay approval of the bill as there may be other partisan interpretations to the postponement. 'At the moment, we have those who want to go to court; that is part of our democratic right, but that should not stop us from working towards what we know would be helpful for us today and generations unborn,' he emphasised. Some opponents of the bill argued that it was against human rights, saying individuals should not serve prison terms for their sexuality. Rev Opuni, responding to the sanctions the bill sought to impose, said specific clauses of the bill and other punishment modalities should be addressed by lawyers. '…We are saying that this is a national concern and the President must give it a national response as early as possible…We still plead with those who have ears of the President that he must move fast and sign so the process can continue; those who want to go to court can still go,' he stressed. Source: Ghana News Agency