The Supreme Court of Ghana unanimously tossed an application to halt further progress on the country’s anti-LGBTQ+ legislation currently under negotiation in Parliament, Joy Online reported.
The draconian bill would ban most LGBTQ+ activities, relationships, and advocacy, including marriage equality and gender-affirming care for trans people. Vice President Kamala Harris expressed her opposition to the legislation on a visit to the country in March.
Chief Justice Gertrude Torkonoo on Tuesday read the decision that the court could not issue an injunction on the unfinished work of Parliament.
Dr. Amanda Odoi, an academic and activist, had filed the suit claiming it was unconstitutional to proceed with the legislation while challenges had yet to be resolved in the courts. As a result of the ruling, Odoi also dropped a request for contempt charges against Speaker of the Parliament Alban Bagbin for constitutional violations.
In court documents, Odoi argued Bagbin had “continually violated and shown utter disregard for the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana and the court process” by continuing negotiations on the controversial bill.
“I feel very strongly about the importance of supporting the freedom and supporting the fighting for equality among all people, and that all people be treated equally,” Harris said at a joint press conference with Ghanian President Nana Akufo-Addo at the time. “I will also say that this is an issue that we consider and I consider to be a human rights issue, and that will not change.”
Under the bill, which was first introduced in 2021, “advocates of the LGBTQ community would face up to a decade in prison; public displays of same-sex affection or cross-dressing could lead to a fine or jail time, and certain types of medical support would be made illegal,” CNN reported in March.
The legislation would make it illegal for news outlets to distribute LGBTQ-affirming content, require citizens to report suspected LGBTQ+ neighbors, force intersex people into surgery and LGBTQ+ people into conversion therapy, and ban marriage equality for folks who have had gender-confirmation surgery.