13 Oct Speaker cannot determine passage of anti-LGBTQ+ Bill on behalf of Parliament – Majority Leader
Majority Leader of Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has said that it is out of place for the Speaker, Alban Bagbin, to have made a predetermination concerning the “Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values 2021” bill.
According to him, the Speaker is technically not a Parliamentarian and thus cannot make such a commitment on behalf of Parliament.
Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu made this known at a press briefing organized by the Majority Caucus in Parliament to address issues surrounding the anti-LGBT bill.
He said, “the Speaker cannot commit parliament, the Speaker can make a referral to Parliament which will be programmed by the business committee for consideration.
“I’ll find it difficult if we have a Speaker who as part of his own antecedent as a former member of parliament says that parliament is going to pass the bill. It’s a bit of difficulty unless I didn’t hear well.”
“I’m not saying parliament is not going to pass it, but the speaker should not make a predetermination for the house because he’s not a Member of Parliament and this is the business of Parliament,” he added.
The proponents of the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values 2021 bill are seeking to criminalise the LGBTQ community in Ghana.
Should it be passed, persons who identify as LGBTQ and or engage in the said practice could face up to five years imprisonment.
LGBT activists could also face up to a 10-year-jail time.
Portions of the bill proposed that, “a person who, by use of media, technological platform, technological account or any other means, produces, procures, markets, broadcasts, disseminates, publishes or distributes a material for purposes of promoting an activity prohibited under the Bill, or a person uses an electronic device, the Internet service, a film, or any other device capable of electronic storage or transmission to produce, procure, market, broadcast, disseminate, publishes or distribute a material for purposes of promoting an activity prohibited under the Bill, commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a term of imprisonment of not less than five years and not more than ten years.”
Proponents say they have the overwhelming support of Ghanaians, one of the reasons why they are pushing that it be passed expeditiously.
However, the legislation faces stiff opposition as the Parliament’s Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs has received over 120 memos geared towards shaping the bill.