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12 months jail term for child marriage but 5 years for supporting LGBTQ activities – Gabby chides Sam George, others

A prominent member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Gabby Otchere-Darko, has questioned why individuals seeking to protect Ghana’s family values have not called for harsher sentences for individuals caught engaging and promoting child marriage.

Mr Otchere-Darko made the comment amidst investigations into a contentious marriage between a minor and Nungua’s elder, Nuumo Borketey Laweh Tsuru XXXIII, aged 63. 

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Per the Children’s Act 1998 (Act 560), an adult caught forcing a minor into marriage faces a maximum jail term of 12 months or fines of up to 5 million cedis (500 Ghana Cedis).

In a post on the X platform, wondered why the country is seeking to impose a “stiffer” sentence on consenting adults in the LGBTQ community who decide to have an amorous relationship, or any promotion, sponsorship or support of LGBTQ activities when a situation such as child marriage which involves an adult and a minor prescribes a lighter sentence.

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In what appears to be a jab to anti-LGBTQ bill promoters including Ningo-Prampram MP, Sam George, Gabby Otchere-Darko wrote, “In Ghana, you face a maximum jail term of 12 months if you force a minor into marriage, according to Children’s Act 1998 (Act 560).”

“Once assented, the law that seeks to presumably protect our family values (which ignores child marriage by the way) will impose a prison sentence of up to five years for the “wilful promotion, sponsorship or support of LGBTQ+ activities”. In fact two consenting adults of same sex face a stiffer sentence if they are found kissing in public than the 70-year old man who marries a 14-year old girl.”

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The Children’s Act 1998 (Act 560), amended in 2016, safeguards children’s rights against forced betrothal and marriage.

The Constitution of Ghana also defines anyone below 18 as a child, ineligible for marriage. Sections 14 and 15 of the Children’s Act explicitly state the right of children to reject betrothal and marriage, setting the legal marriage age at 18.

The recent alleged marriage has ignited a fierce debate, with many condemning the act on social media and demanding the arrest of the Ga-Dangme States’ Overlord. Despite the uproar, some authorities have defended the marriage, citing cultural practices.

Presently, the Supreme Court is set to hear the unconstitutional claims levelled against the anti-LGBTQ bill which has been approved by Parliament but yet to receive a presidential assent by Nana Akufo-Addo.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Why don’t Gabby present a private member’s bill to parliament asking for the sentence to be increased to whatever? Those who are pushing to have the lgbtql+ bill passed took it up in parliament and are seeing to it. If Gabby feels this strongly about this issue, he as a lawyer should petition parliament and have them change it to whatever years will make him happy. Standing somewhere and ranting will not change anything. As for the lgbtql+ bill, these rants won’t it from being signed into law, whether Gabby and Nana Addo like it or not.

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