Presbyterian Church proposes three-year jail term for LGBTQI+ in Ghana

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The Presbyterian Church of Ghana has proposed a minimum three-year jail term for persons engaged in LGBTQI+ activities in Ghana.

This proposal was made when the church, led by its representative, presented its memorandum at the public hearing on the private member's bill known as the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values by the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee of Parliament.

The Director of Ecumenical and Social Relations of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rev. Nii Amarh Ashitey, said the punishment prescribed in the Anti-LGBTQ + Bill currently before parliament must be deterrent enough.

“As Christians, we believe in mercy and forgiveness but we equally believe that punishments are meant as deterrents not only for the offender but also for people who harbour similar intent”. He said:

“We find that the needs of the law on Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values have emerged from the inadequacy of the Criminal Offences Act 1960 (Act 29). This law that hopes to come out after this bill has been passed, is needed to deter unacceptable behaviours that are injurious to the common good of society.”

The Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021 will see culprits face a jail term of up to ten years depending on the crime if passed in its current state.

Individuals of the same sex who engage in sexual intercourse are “liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than seven hundred and fifty penalty units and not more than five thousand penalty units, or to a term of imprisonment of not less than three years and not more than five years or both.”

Ghana's laws already criminalize gay sex by forbidding "unnatural carnal knowledge".

Now the West African country wants to go a step further in its efforts to criminalise the LGBTQ community.

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