GHANA: Don’t Compromise Bill for LGBTQ+ Investors, Clerics Tell Parliament

By Arnold Neliba

ACCRA, AUGUST 22, 2023 (CISA)-Religious leaders in Ghana have described statements by the US Ambassador to Ghana, Virginia Palmer on the LGBTQI bill as ‘surprising and unfortunate’ and aimed at intimidating members of Ghana’s parliament who are working to pass an anti-LGBTQI bill.

The American ambassador was quoted saying, “Ghana is a very welcoming, tolerant society, lots of interreligious, interethnic harmony, and that is what makes Ghana strong, stable, and attractive for investment. I hope it stays that way with regard to the LGBT community. And again, there is money to be made if the colour of your money is green or red; it is Ghanaian, but if there is discrimination or worse, then that will send a signal to not just LGBT investors but other American investors that Ghana is less welcoming than I am telling people that it is now. So, I hope it will stay welcoming.”

In a joint statement by the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference (GCBC), the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC) and the Christian Council of Ghana (CCG), the religious leaders condemned the ambassador’s sentiments maintaining that Ghana has its own cultural and religious values and it has no intention to compromise the bill for LGBTQ+ investors.

“Though the Christian leadership and the wider Ghanaian community are not utterly surprised by the statement, we find such a statement to be unfortunate and intended to subtly intimidate our lawmakers and business community into kowtowing to the cultural desires and the value preferences of a small but financially influential minority group in the US in particular and the western countries in general,” reads part of the statement.

The bill proposes that identifying as a member of the LGBTQ is punishable by a three-year prison sentence. People who campaign for LGBTQ rights could also face up to 10 years in jail. Today, same-sex marriage is illegal in Ghana.