Communications Minister and Member of Parliament for Ablekuma West, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has raised concern about the criminalisation of sex toys in the Anti-LGBT bill being considered in Parliament.
According to her, the criminalisation of the use of sex toys contained in clause 3(c) of the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021, would inadvertently affect heterosexual couples who use sex toys to enhance their sex lives.
Clause 3(c) of the bill prohibits sexual intercourse between a man and an inanimate object or between a woman and an inanimate object.
She noted that if the criminalisation of sex toys is the intent of the house, then Parliament would have to be clear that the bill is not just targeted at the LGBT community, but all and sundry.
Otherwise, she has called for the immediate deletion of clause 3(c).
Speaking on the floor of Parliament during the consideration of the Anti-LGBT bill she said, “And I think we raised this when the committee was considering it that the proposed amendment in 3(c) may create unintended consequences because sexual intercourse between a man and an inanimate object or between a woman and an inanimate object would necessarily include sexual intercourse with all manner of aids that couple use to enhance the sexual experience.”
“And I’m not sure if that’s what the intention of this bill is. It would necessarily include sex toys and other aids that couples, heterosexual couples also use to enhance the sexual experience.
“So if that is what the house intends then we have to be clear in our minds that we may be criminalising activities which may not necessarily be limited to only those LGBTQI community that the target of this bill is, but it may also be targeting straight couples who use sex enhancement tools to enhance the sexual experience.
“So we need to be mindful of the unintended consequences of 3(c) could be and I’ll propose that 3(c) be deleted from this amendment.”
Meanwhile, Parliament could not agree on the appropriate punishment for LGBTQ+ persons engaging in unnatural carnal knowledge with each other.
The bill criminalizes sex between persons of the same sex, between a man or woman and an animal or object, proposing a punishment of between 3 and 5 years.
However, the Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee recommended a jail term of up to 3 years without suggesting a minimum sentence.
The Chairman of the Committee explained the rationale behind the proposal on Tuesday, December 12, 2023.
“Most of the religious bodies were supporting the fact that they would give people who are prepared to go through reforms, the opportunity to go through. If we make a strict law that if you are found guilty, or you practice this, you don’t have an option. Mr. Speaker, we don’t have a community service that would have been more severe than giving the person a custodial sentence, because the society will look down upon you.
“But to caution you or to give you deserve imprisonment or imprisonment, if we leave it to the discretion of the judge, they are also members of this society, they are learned, and depending on the circumstances, that’s why I am comfortable if we give the upper limit without saying that the person must be imprisoned as a minimum requirement.”
A sponsor of the bill, Sam George said that advice on the remits of the penalty units to be slapped against culprits would be crucial in determining the gravity of the corresponding sanction.
“We should then get advice on what the minimum penalty or 750 units is concurrent with, is it three months or six months? So we have a lower limit also for custodial sentence,” he said on the floor.
But the Speaker interjected saying that there was already a law on equivalence on penalty units and therefore “that will apply.”
After the deliberations, the Speaker deferred the questions to the parliamentary drafters to draft the detailed form of the discussions to better reflect the intentions of various legislators.
The controversial LGBT bill is a private member’s bill that was presented to Speaker Alban Bagbin on Tuesday, June 29, 2021. It is being spearheaded by 8 MPs.
The proponents want the promotion, advocacy, funding, and acts of homosexuality to be criminalised in the country.