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NewsJournalist drags Parliament to Supreme Court over Anti-LGBTQ+ bill

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Journalist drags Parliament to Supreme Court over Anti-LGBTQ+ bill

Journalist Richard Dela Sky has taken Parliament to the Supreme Court over the passage of the Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill also known as the anti-LGBTQ bill.

This controversial legislation was passed unanimously by lawmakers on February 28, 2024, after years of deliberation.

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There is mounting pressure on President Akufo-Addo from Members of Parliament to sign the bill into law. However, the President has stated that he will withhold his assent until the court issues a ruling on the case.

Under the bill, individuals promoting or sponsoring LGBTQ activities could face three to five years in jail, while those caught engaging in such acts could be sentenced to a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 3 years.

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The reliefs sought by the journalist include an order restraining President Akufo-Addo from assenting to the bill and also preventing the “Speaker of Parliament and the Clerk to Parliament from presenting ‘The Human and Sexual Values Bill, 2024’ to the President of the Republic for his assent.”

The plaintiff in the lawsuit against the Anti-LGBTQ+ bill argues that certain portions of the legislation are in conflict with the principles of the 1992 Constitution, and thus should be declared null and void.

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The lawsuit, filed on March 5, 2024, also contends that certain sections of the bill impose a financial burden on the Consolidated Fund or other public funds of Ghana.

On the other hand, the bill’s proponents, including Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram, Sam George, maintain that no part of the bill violates the provisions of the 1992 constitution. Speaking to the media on March 2, Sam George noted that critics of the bill who claim it contradicts the constitution have not specified the exact sections they believe are problematic.

“This is a social issue and so Parliament is within the same Article 17.4 exercising its right that the constitution has conferred on us to deal with the social issue. It says for the matters relating to adoption, which is in this bill, marriage is in this bill, divorce, burial, and the evolution of property. But clearly, parliament has not acted ultra vires the constitution,” he said.

The Finance Ministry is expressing concerns about the potential implications if President Akufo-Addo decides to assent to the recently passed bill.

The Ministry outlined the negative implications of the document on its expenditure, key government plans, and projects. It urged President Akufo-Addo to hold off on signing the bill into law as it may cost the country greatly. These risks include a potential loss of $850 million in budgetary support from the World Bank this year alone.

In the 5-page document, the Ministry explained that “for 2024 Ghana will lose US$600 million Budget support and US$250 million for the Financial Stability Fund.”

“This will negatively impact Ghana’s foreign exchange reserves and exchange rate stability as these inflows are expected to shore the country’s reserve position.

Over the next six years, the Ministry explained that “Ghana is likely to lose US$3.8 billion in World Bank Financing.”

Some Members of Parliament are furious over the Finance Ministry’s advice to President Akufo-Addo. For instance, MP for Sagnarigu, Alhassan Bashir Alhassan Fuseini, has urged Ghanaians to take action in support of the anti-LGBTQ+ bill. The MP stated that the proposed legislation is crucial to upholding the country’s cultural values and independence from external influence.

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