Ghana’s Anti-LGBTQ Bill Risks Hurting Its Democratic Credentials

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12/2/2021

(Bloomberg) — When it comes to cracking down on the LGBTQ community, not much separates Ghana’s two main political parties. A lawmaker from the ruling party has joined seven opposition legislators to sponsor a bill to punish LGBTQ people with jail time, legalize discrimination and force anyone who knows someone is gay to report that person to the authorities. The proposed legislation also prevents journalists from producing content seen to be sympathetic to LGBTQ people and advocates conversion therapy — a practice the United Nations has said can lead to torture. The opening — and forced closure in February — of an LGBTQ community center in Accra provided political fodder to both sides to speak up in defense of Ghana’s “family values.” The bill’s main sponsor, Sam George, has since presented himself as a defender of these values on CNN and the BBC, using language that resonates with the country’s influential religious groups. The bill is being debated at the committee level and will then be submitted to the parliament for a second reading. With the move, the West African nation — considered a regional exemplar of democracy — is bucking the trend of progress being made, albeit slowly, elsewhere on the continent.

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