Ghana Supreme Court to rule on gay rights

Ghana has adopted a recommendation by a constitutional review commission to rule on legalizing same-sex acts

Ghana Supreme Court to rule on gay rights
21 July 2012

The Constitution Review Commission (CRC) of Ghana has recommended the country’s Supreme Court should rule on whether the country should legalise same-sex acts.  

The suggestion was adopted by the country’s government earlier this week (16 July).

Under Ghanaian law, male same-sex sexual activity is illegal. Gay men can also be punished under provisions concerning assault and rape.

The U.S. Department of State’s 2010 Human Rights Report revealed widespread and deeply held homophobic views.

It states: ‘LGBT persons faced widespread discrimination, as well as police harassment and extortion attempts. Gay men in prison often were subjected to sexual and other physical abuse.’

The CRC, created in January 2010 to collate the public’s views and undertake a consultative review of the 1992 constitution, announced over 98% of submissions were received by the commission against LGBT rights.

However, the CRC’s recommendation was not entirely favorable to the majority anti-gay views.

According to the CRC’s report, ‘it is very probable that a proposal to give some recognition to same-sex relationships in Ghana at this stage will be condemned by a large section of the population in the country – mainly on religious and cultural grounds.

‘On the other hand, a suggestion to introduce a provision in the constitution expressly excluding same-sex marriages in Ghana would be clearly seen by many people in the country and outside of it as a reactionary move not worthy of a progressive state’, the CRC report stated.

The CRC recommended to defer a decision to Ghana’s Supreme Court which was adopted by the country’s government’s white paper.

This decision has caused an uproar in Ghana, tribal leaders, including participants of the CRC said they would never accept legalization of homosexuality which they described as uncultured, un-African and un-natural, warning of dissent and even uprising against any such attempt.

Education Director of upper-east Ghana slammed the CRC by saying ‘homosexuality is morally repugnant’ and un-African.

Last year Ghana, along with other African countries, was called upon by Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary General, to recognize the rights of LGBT people.

British Prime Minister David Cameron also suggested the United Kingdom would cut off aid to any country that failed to recognize gay rights.

In response, Ghanaian President John Evans Atta Mills, reiterated the Ghana government’s stance on LGBT rights, during an African Union summit held in February 2012.

He stated: ‘Ghanaian society frowns on homosexuality, if the people’s interest is that we do not legalize homosexuality, I don’t see how any responsible leader can decide to go against the wishes of his people.’

He also denied LGBT people suffer from imprisonment and discrimination.

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