Ghana parliament begins public hearings on new anti-LGBT+ law

Gay sex is already punishable by prison time in Ghana, the new bill would go much further, criminalizing the promotion and funding of LGBT+ activities and more.

A Ghanaian parliamentary committee has begun a public hearing into a controversial anti-gay bill.

The bill proposes a five-year jail term for lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT+) people and a 10-year term for promoters and advocates of LGBT+ activities.

The first day of the hearing was tense – with both proponents and those against LGBT+ people strongly arguing over the proposed legislation.

The public hearing offers an opportunity for people and groups to make submissions on the proposed bill.

The Coalition of Concerned Ghanaian Citizens argues the bill is unconstitutional because it violates the rights of the LGBT community. But the Ghana Pentecostal Council says it reflects the will of many Ghanaians.

Other groups including Amnesty International and the UN Office of the Resident Coordinator are due to make their submissions.

The proposed legislation, known as the Family Values bill, was brought to parliament earlier this year.

It followed the opening and subsequent shutdown of an LGBT resource centre in the capital, Accra.

Gay sex is already punishable in Ghana with a prison term of three years. The new bill seeks to strengthen the existing law and widen its scope.

A UN human rights expert has warned that it will promote a system of state-sponsored discrimination and violence against sexual minorities.

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