Ghana’s President Delays Signing Anti-LGBTQ Bill, Awaiting Supreme Court Ruling

President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana has announced a delay in signing the controversial anti-LGBTQ bill into law until the Supreme Court rules on its constitutionality. This decision comes amidst mounting international concerns and warnings about the potential economic and social repercussions of the proposed legislation.

The bill, officially known as the “Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill,” was passed by Ghana’s parliament last week, sparking a wave of criticism from human rights groups and donor organizations. The legislation aims to intensify penalties for consensual same-sex conduct and criminalize advocacy for LGBTQ rights, a move that has been met with fierce opposition both domestically and abroad.

President Akufo-Addo, while acknowledging the bill’s passage by parliament, has reiterated Ghana’s commitment to upholding human rights and the rule of law. He emphasized the importance of allowing the Supreme Court to review the bill’s constitutionality before taking any further action. This decision reflects the president’s recognition of the complexity of the issue and the need for thorough legal scrutiny.

The proposed law includes severe punishments, such as prison terms of up to three years for individuals identifying as LGBTQ+ and five years for promoting LGBTQ+ activities. Despite receiving support from both major political parties in Ghana’s parliament, the bill has faced significant opposition from rights groups and foreign governments, who argue that it violates fundamental human rights principles.

International financial institutions, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, have expressed concerns over the potential economic implications of the bill. The finance ministry of Ghana issued a warning that the country could lose significant funding from international banks, amounting to an estimated $3.8 billion over the next five to six years if the bill is signed into law. This loss of funding could have devastating effects on Ghana’s economy and development efforts.

The delay in signing the bill underscores the complexity of the issue and the challenges facing Ghana as it navigates the intersection of human rights, politics, and economics. With presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for later this year, the issue of LGBTQ rights is likely to remain a contentious topic of debate. The outcome of both legal and political deliberations on the bill will have far-reaching implications for Ghana’s future trajectory and its standing in the international community. Advocates for human rights and LGBTQ equality continue to push for the protection of fundamental freedoms and the promotion of inclusive societies in Ghana and beyond.

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