High Court dismisses suit compelling Akufo-Addo to receive Anti-LGBTQ Bill

An application submitted by Member of Parliament for South Dayi, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, to compel President Akufo-Addo to receive the Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill has been rejected by the Accra High Court.

Dafeamekpor filed the suit on March 25, seeking, among other things, a declaration that, as per Article 106(1) and (7) of the Constitution, the President must either assent to or decline a bill within seven days, unless it has been referred to the Council of State. Additionally, he sought a declaration that the President cannot obstruct Parliament from transmitting a passed bill to him.

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Represented by Chief State Attorney Sylvia Adeso, the Attorney-General’s lawyers contended that the High Court lacked jurisdiction to grant Dafeamekpor’s application.

Despite arguments presented, the court ruled in favor of the Attorney-General’s position, ultimately dismissing the case.

Passage of Anti-LGBTQ Bill

Parliament passed the Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, on Wednesday, February 28.

Among other things, the bill punishes those who take part in LGBTQ sexual acts, as well as those who promote the rights of gay, lesbian or other non-conventional sexual or gender identities with time in prison.

Although a section of the public have welcomed the bill, others including CHRAJ have raised many concerns including discrimination against people and their freedoms as stated in the constitution.

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However, Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram, Sam George, says no part of the Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill (Anti-LGBTQ Bill) infringes on the laws in the 1992 constitution.

Already, the Finance Ministry has advised President Akufo-Addo against signing it, expressing concerns that the country could face serious financial challenges if the president goes ahead to assent to the bill.

The ministry warned that Ghana could lose more than $3 billion in funding from the World Bank for various programmes and projects.

In response, President Akufo-Addo reassured the international community of Ghana’s commitment to upholding human rights despite the recent passage of the Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, popularly known as the Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill.

Addressing concerns during a diplomatic engagement, the President emphasised that Ghana remains steadfast in its long-standing reputation for respecting human rights and adherent to the rule of law.

He clarified that the Bill is facing a legal challenge at the Supreme Court and that until a decision is arrived at, no action would be taken by his government on the private Member’s bill.

Desist and cease from transmitting bill

Subsequently, the Office of the President in a letter dated March 18, 2024, requested Parliament to refrain from sending the anti-gay bill to President Akufo-Addo for his assent.

In the letter signed by the Secretary to the President, Nana Asante Bediatuo, the Presidency had explained that the decision stems from the acknowledgment of two pending applications for an order of interlocutory injunction before the Supreme Court.

The letter emphasised that it would be improper for Parliament to proceed with transmitting the Bill to President Akufo-Addo for any action until the matters before the court are addressed.

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Furthermore, it was disclosed that the Attorney-General has advised the President against taking any action regarding the Bill until the issues raised in the legal suits are resolved by the Supreme Court.

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