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Ghanaian house speaker rejects plea for basic LGBT+ rights: ‘It is an abomination’

Josh Milton April 8, 2021
On the left: Andrew Barnes, wearing a face mask, speaks into a microphone. On the right: Alban Bagbin speaks into a microphone while sitting in a leather chair

Ghana's speaker of parliament, Alban Bagbin (L), shoots down a request from Australian envoy , Andrew Barnes to pass legislation in favour of LGBT+ rights. (Screen captures via Twitter/TV3)

Ghana’s speaker of parliament has rejected a request by Australia’s high commissioner to Ghana to pass legislation in favour of LGBT+ rights.

Speaker Alban Bagbin emphatically shot down any hope held by both local and international LGBT+ advocates that the legislature would pass pro-LGBT+ laws anytime soon.

Envoy Andrew Barnes had urged Ghana’s lawmakers to stop curtailing further the rights of its queer citizens and to instead “adapt”.

In the meeting held at Ghana’s parliament, Barnes said to Bagbin: “We are not trying to promote or encourage LGBT+ in Ghana.

“We do believe that sometimes culture is going to adapt to change.”

In response, Bagbin said: “The issue of the LGBT+, that is something that we see as an abomination.

“It is something that we abhor and therefore we will continue to go according to our culture.

“We will definitely not want to go to Europe and try to impose on them something like polygamy, we will not do that.”

Such a response is unsurprising, considering that the speaker already welcomed with open arms a bloc of anti-LGBT+ lawmakers who have vowed to bulldoze even more bills that will further restrict and punish queer folk.

As one of Ghana‘s most senior’s parliamentarians, Bagbin’s resistance to LGBT+ rights echoes the attitudes of the country’s president, Nana Afuko-Addo.

In the wake of one of the country’s few LGBT+ rights groups opening an office – subsequently besieged by police – he responded by affirming his pledge to never legalise marriage equality.

Activist group LGBT+ Rights Ghana have vowed to one day reopen again, but since its office was raided and closed down, the country has seen a renewed drive to squash LGBT+ rights spearheaded a small but powerful cabre of religious conservatives.

A group of 30 lawmakers have even cobbled together to form the “Believers Against LGBTQI+“. Their mission is simple: to pass legislation that will make even advocating for LGBT+ rights a crime.

In Ghana, being LGBT+ is illegal and those found to have had consensual queer sex face three years in jail.

More: Ghana

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