Parliament passes Anti-LGBTQ+ bill

After nearly three years of deliberation, Parliament has finally passed the highly contentious Anti-LGBTQ+ bill.

The bill, introduced in the House years ago, was approved unanimously on Wednesday, February 28, following the completion of the third reading.

Proposed amendments to the bill were rejected by the Speaker, Alban Bagbin, during the session.

The bill is now slated to be forwarded to President Akufo-Addo for his assent.

The Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, withdrew several proposed amendments to the bill on February 21. However, during Wednesday’s parliamentary session, Afenyo-Markin reiterated his stance on the bill, expressing opposition to certain provisions.

He argued against measures that could prevent individuals or groups from providing support to vulnerable members of society.

Afenyo-Markin emphasised the importance of aligning the bill with constitutional imperatives, stating, “You cannot — let’s not be too emotional about this; let’s be consistent.” He further highlighted the need to uphold human rights within the legislation.

However, the National Democratic Congress MP for Akatsi South constituency, Bernard Ahiafor opposed the amendments raised by the Majority Leader.

According to him, the amendments proposed by Mr Afenyo-Markin are prohibiting funding, promoting, and facilitating the activities of LGBTQ, which the bill seeks to proscribe.

“Mr Speaker, we’re not discriminating; we’re proscribing using your money to fund and promote activities which will become illegal after the passage of this particular law. So, I don’t agree with him subjecting it to the provision of the constitution.”

Contrarily, the New Patriotic Party MP for Adansi-Asokwa constituency, Kobina Tahir (K.T) Hammond emphasised that Parliament must be careful not to offend against the tenets of the constitution.

He pointed out that the Majority Leader understands the importance of the LGBTQ documents and has come up with a proposed amendment to the bill.

“The Majority Leader is saying that if it is accepted, that the 10 and the 11 should be read in subject to the constitution, what is the difficulty in subjecting the 12? I find it very difficult to comprehend with what they are talking about.”

In response to these arguments, the Speaker of Parliament proposed the deferring of further consideration of the bill, citing Parliament’s provision, Order 172(4), which states a motion of the Third reading shall not be made on the same day as the Second reading.

The passage of the bill was not without controversy. According to Joy News Parliamentary Correspondent, Kwaku Asante, the session witnessed unexpected drama. Typically, after the Consideration Stage, the House must wait a day before moving on to the Third Reading. However, following another round of amendments proposed by Sam George and others, Muntaka Mubarak, MP for Asawase, moved a motion to suspend this rule.

Despite opposition from Majority Leader Afenyo-Markin, the motion to suspend the rules was carried, allowing the House to proceed to the Third Reading. The Speaker declined Afenyo-Markin’s request to propose further amendments to the bill.



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