Ghana's legislature has approved a rigorous new law against the LGBTQ community, increasing penalties and broadening its reach.

Ghana’s legislature has approved a rigorous new law against the LGBTQ community, increasing penalties and broadening its reach.

legislation against LGBTQ rights in the world

Ghana’s lawmakers in Johannesburg voted in favor of a contentious bill on Wednesday that aims to curb LGBTQ rights, following extensive discussions. This new law, known as the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values bill, is considered one of the harshest measures against LGBTQ individuals globally.

Legislation in Africa aimed at discriminating against individuals who identify as LGBTQ..

Homosexuality is already illegal in Ghana and punishable by up to three years in prison. Under the new law, that maximum sentence will increase to five years. It would also bring in a custodial sentence for people convicted of advocating for LGBTQ rights and make the distribution of material deemed supportive of LGBTQ rights illegal.

African Churches LGBTQ Rights

On October 11, 2021, a group gathered in the Harlem neighborhood of New York to protest a potentially harmful bill up for consideration in Ghana’s parliament. The bill seeks to criminalize identifying as LGBTQ or speaking out in support of LGBTQ rights, with the penalty being imprisonment.

Emily Leshner/AP

The legislation, initiated by a team of traditional leaders representing Ghana’s Christian and Muslim populations, must now be approved by President Nana Akufo-Addo before becoming law. While it is anticipated that he will sign it, he has not made a public statement about his intentions.

The Big 18 & Human Rights Coalition, a collective organization of attorneys and advocates in Ghana, stated at a press conference on Tuesday that the legislation “deems a person’s identity as a crime and violates fundamental human rights.” They urged the president to refuse it.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is monitoring legislation in Oklahoma that specifically targets and harms the LGBTQ+ community.

Manuh said Ghanaian civil society organizations were ready to file legal challenges against the bill.  

Surprisingly, our discovery reveals that most individuals have not taken the time to peruse the document, which, according to her, entails responsibilities for caregivers, property owners, and business proprietors.”

According to her, individuals are surprised when they become aware of how the legislation could hold them responsible for the actions of others.

As the discussion surrounding the legislation has intensified in the past few weeks, there has also been an increase in violence targeting members of the LGBTQ community. Activists report instances of students being assaulted and expelled from school, individuals being robbed, and many facing blackmail from other community members threatening to expose their identity.

Manuh stated that her organization has received multiple reports of individuals being ousted from their hometowns, losing their employment, and being cut off from any assistance from their own relatives.

She expressed to CBS News that it was a frightening sensation. No one should be punished or harassed because of their sexual orientation. Their rights should be honored.

In 2021, the United Nations cautioned that the suggested legislation could result in a pattern of government-supported prejudice and brutality targeting members of the LGBTQ+ community in Ghana.

The top constitutional court in Uganda, the nation with

the strictest measures against LGBTQ discrimination

“The African nation is currently deliberating a decision on legislation that poses severe punishments, including life imprisonment and potentially execution, for individuals who engage in homosexual activities.”

As soon as the anti-homosexuality act was passed in December, civil rights organizations in Uganda raised objections. The United States has expressed disapproval of this law and has taken action by limiting visas and holding back on trade.

The duration of time needed for the court to make a decision on the law’s constitutionality is uncertain.