Stop attacking MPs against LGBTQI+ – Former Minister

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Former Deputy Defence Minister, Major Dereck Oduro (RTD) has urged the public not to attack any parliamentarian who speaks against the LGBTQI+ Bill.

He noted that the Parliamentarians represent the people and therefore will vote in favour of or against the Bill, depending on what their constituents decide.

Eight members of Ghana’s Parliament have jointly submitted a private bill to push for the criminalization of LGBTQI+ activities in the country.

The LGBTQI+ Bill, which they term as a ‘Bill on the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values’, was presented to Speaker, Alban Bagbin on Tuesday, June 29, 2021.

The proponents of the bill want the promotion, advocacy, funding, and acts of homosexuality to be criminalized in the country.

The Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram constituency, Sam George, who led the MPs to make the presentation, said it “is a landmark legislation that has taken the last 14 weeks working with a fantastic team of professionals to put together. It is in my humble opinion a world-class piece of legislation which should be reference material for other Parliaments seeking to pass similar legislation.”

The LGBTQI+ Bill, presented to the Speaker, is the first major step taken towards the criminalization.

The bill will be assessed by a parliamentary committee after a referral from the Speaker, and subsequently debated on the floor of the House.

“The Bill respects the fundamental human rights of all persons, including those found engaging in the prohibited acts, but spells out a rigid punitive measure in line with our social, cultural and religious stance as a nation. Let me be clear here, homosexuality is not a human right. It is a lifestyle choice. A sexual preference,” Sam George stated.

The other members of parliament that joined in presenting the bill include, Emmanuel Bedzrah (MP, Ho West) Della Adjoa Sowah (MP, Kpando), John Ntim Fordjour (MP, Assin South), Alhassan Sayibu Suhuyini (MP, Tamale North), Helen Adjoa Ntoso (MP, Krachi West), Rita Naa Odoley Sowah (MP, La Dadekotopon) and Rockson Nelson Dafeamekpor (MP, South Dayi).

Although the Bill has received massive support from the public, especially the clergy, the eight have been lambasted by persons who are also not in favour of the bill with some coming directly at Sam George.

Speaking with Ekourba Gyasi Simpremu on Atinka TV’s morning show, Ghana Nie, hosted by Ekourba Gyasi Simpremu, Major Dereck Oduro also urged the public not to suppress those who are against the LGBTQI+ Bill from sharing their opinion.

“When you meet about 10 people, it is only about one percent who are against the Bill. That does not mean we should suppress those who do not support the bill,” he said.

He continued,” We have to allow everyone to share their opinion if they want to. At the end of the day, it will be debated in parliament. No one should stop anyone from speaking.”

Meanwhile, Major Dereck Oduro said he supports the Bill, but expressed hope that there will be amendments to some portions of it, urging the public not to feel that the Bill will be passed the exact form it was presented.

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