The Deputy Majority Leader in Parliament, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, has voiced his strong opposition to the imposition of custodial sentences on individuals found guilty of engaging in LGBTQ+ activities.
This development occurred during a session in Parliament on Thursday, February 8, where lawmakers approved a three-to-five-year jail term for those promoting or sponsoring LGBTQ activities. Additionally, individuals caught in the act are now subject to a minimum sentence of 6 months and a maximum of 3 years.
Mr. Afenyo-Markin expressed his dissent during a clause-by-clause amendment of the bill focusing on the promotion of proper human sexual rights and Ghanaian family values. He argued that the punitive measures outlined in the bill would not contribute to the rehabilitation of offenders, emphasizing the need for a more nuanced approach.
The Effutu lawmaker drew attention to the current state of the country’s prisons, lamenting their inadequacy in providing the necessary rehabilitation for individuals involved in LGBTQ+ activities. According to him, the existing conditions within the prison system would hinder any efforts to reform those convicted under the proposed legislation.
“It is my contention that given the state of our prisons, a custodial sentence will not lead to the rehabilitation of the offender if he is convicted; it cannot be an option. If indeed we are promoting Ghanaian family values, then our Ghanaian family values will not entail the consequence of those who breach them being destroyed in society.”
On his part, the lead proponent of the anti-gay bill, Sam Nartey George, also explained that “what created the confusion was the establishment of advocacy for the promotion of the activities; that is what Ghanaians are against. Nobody is interested in what you do in your bedroom. And so, the punishment for one caught in the act, is to be a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 3 years.”
“However, for anyone engaging in wilful promotion, sponsorship, or support of the agenda, the punitive measure for that is a minimum of 3 years, maximum of 5 years.”