A survey conducted by the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) has shown that majority of Ghanaians are opposed to same-sex relationships.
The survey which was released in July 2021 indicated that although majority of Ghanaians are tolerant of persons from different ethnicities, only 7% are tolerant of persons of same-sex relationships.
Overwhelming majorities of Ghanaians express tolerant attitudes toward people of different ethnicities (92%), different religions (91%), different political affiliations (90%), and different nationalities (74%). But fewer than one in 10 (7%) are tolerant toward people in same-sex relationships,” portions of the survey said.
The survey was released in the wake of the tabling of an anti-LGBTQI+ Bill before Parliament, via the Private Members Bill.
The bill seeks to officially criminalise LGBTQI+ activities and also ensure a 10-year jail term for such persons in Ghana.
Groups and individuals who advocate for the rights of LGBTQI+ people or offer support also face sanctions under the law.
The Bill has sparked outrage from human rights activists and persons sympathetic to LGBTQI people, but the proposed legislation has been welcomed by a significant number of Ghanaians and Christian groups.
The Bill which has been gazetted is yet to be officially laid before Parliament.
The private members’ Bill is being championed by eight Members of Parliament.
Meanwhile, 15 renowned legal, academic and civil society professionals have also sent a memorandum to Parliament challenging the anti-LGBTQI+ legislation.
In the memorandum, they contend that the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021, which seeks to criminalise LGBTQ+ and adjacent activities, is an “impermissible invasion of the inviolability of human dignity.”
Among the signatories to the memo are Professor Kofi Gyimah-Boadi, Dr. Rose Kutin-Mensah, Professor H. Kwasi Prempeh, Professor Audrey Gadzekpo, Professor Kwame KariKari, Akoto Ampaw and Professor Raymond Atuguba.
They join various human rights groups, including United Nations human rights experts, which have described the Bill as state-sponsored discrimination and violence against LGBTQ+ persons.
Some persons had called for a specific law in Ghana to make homosexuality a criminal offence.
The LGBTQI+ community in Ghana has dominated the news recently after the arrest of 21 activists in the Volta Regional capital, Ho.
Prior to that, police officers raided a house at Ashongman in Accra that was being used as an office of LGBQI+ Rights and shelter for the LGBTQI+ community.
The two incidents reignited the public debate on the subject with some legislators including the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, publicly declaring their interest in criminalizing all forms of LGBTQI+ activities.
LGBTQI rights in Ghana
Although there are some provisions in the Criminal Code under which a homosexual can be prosecuted, especially for having intercourse with a partner, the belief is that a specific law must be enacted to declare homosexual relationships illegal.
Others have also called for a review of Ghana’s laws to be more accommodating of minority groups, as many countries are decriminalizing homosexuality.
In February 2020 for instance, the then Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, Prof. Mike Oquaye, warned the World Bank against homosexuality conditions in development assistance to Ghana.
‘Homosexuality won’t be legalised’
Following the Ashongman LGBTQI office raid and renewed pressure on the executive arm of government on the matter, President Akufo-Addo stressed that marriage between persons of the same sex will not be legalised under his presidency.
“For same-sex marriage to be legalised in Ghana, it will not happen in my time as President,” he stated emphatically.