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Ghana’s parliament passes bill with 3-year prison sentences for identifying as LGBTQ+

Ghana government building presidential palace

The bill also would require even tougher sentences for forming or funding LGBTQ+ groups.

Ghana’s parliament earlier today passed a bill calling for prison sentences of up to three years in prison for people identifying as LGBTQ+ and up to five years for individuals forming or funding LGBTQ+ groups.

The United Nations and other groups immediately spoke out against the legislation, warning it could lead to increased discrimination and endanger lives. The bill now awaits the signature of Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo to become law.

“We are outraged to hear about the Ghanaian Parliament’s passage of the so-called ‘Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Act’ – a cruel bill that violates the fundamental rights of LGBTQI+ people and allies throughout Ghana,” David Stacy, vice president of government affairs for the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement. “Every single lawmaker who voted to pass this bill is wrongly using their power to strip away the basic humanity of the people they are supposed to represent.”

The bill received the support of Ghana’s two main parties, and opposition leaders attempting to eliminate prison sentences in the bill were openly jeered and mocked by those in support of the bill, according to the BBC.

The United Nations expressed concern the bill if signed into law would hinder efforts to battle the spread of HIV in the region.

“Approaches rooted in inclusion of all people have been crucial to Ghana’s progress in the HIV response,” Winnie Byanyima, executive director of UNAIDS, said in a statement. “To achieve the goal of ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030, it is vital to ensure that everyone has equal access to essential services without fear, stigma or discrimination, and that providers of life-saving HIV prevention, testing, treatment and care services are supported in their work.”

It remains unclear if President Akufo-Addo will sign the legislation as written or request further changes.

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