We’re ready to face ‘Big 18’ in court – Anti-LGBTQ+ proponents on threats of legal action

Supporters of the Proper Human Sexual Rights and Family Values bill express their readiness to engage in legal proceedings with the Coalition of 18 Civil Society Groups, who are contemplating legal recourse should President Akufo-Addo approve the Anti-LGBTQ+ bill.

Referred to as the ‘Big 18’, the Coalition opposes the legislation, arguing that it violates Ghana’s rich cultural and religious diversity.

The bill seeks to outlaw LGBTQI+ activities in Ghana, carrying penalties of up to three years’ imprisonment for individuals and five years for those promoting such activities.

Following almost three years of discussion, Parliament unanimously passed the anti-LGBTQ+ bill on February 28. It stipulates a maximum three-year prison term for individuals identifying as LGBTQ+. Additionally, it imposes a maximum five-year jail sentence for the establishment or funding of LGBTQ+ organizations.

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Efforts to replace prison sentences with community service and counseling were thwarted by MPs’ frustration.

Audrey Gadzekpo, Chair of the Ghana Center for Democratic Development and a member of the Coalition, underscored their preparedness to contest the bill in court. Nonetheless, the Member of Parliament for Ho West, a supporter of the bill, asserted readiness to face legal challenges.

“We are prepared since the inception of this bill in 2021. We’ve had so many opposition from the lives of Audrey Gadzekpo, Takyiwaa Manuh, Akoto Ampaw and the rest who stood against this bill including some advocates who think that this bill should not be passed. But thankfully we passed it,” Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah said.

He added that “in any case, we are prepared.”

In an interview with JoyNews, Prof Audrey Gadzekpo, said the groups will make presentations to President Akufo-Addo not to assent to the passage of the anti-LGBTQ+ bill.

Also Read: Prof Gadzekpo, others being funded by LGBTQ+ organizations – Sam George claims [Listen]

She expressed disappointment that with all the opportunities Ghana had when the bill was proposed, Parliament did not see good reason to decide that such a bill did not fit into the country’s democracy.

“It’s an obnoxious bill. It’s kind of like criminal libel, which the colonialists introduced, and we retained it. And it was used improperly against people, including journalists. We will come to find that this is like that,” she said.

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