• Sam George says there is no mention of conversion therapy in anti-LGBTQ+ bill
• He says that the corrective measures recommended in the bill have been approved by experts
• He says the bill reflects the views of Ghanaians
Sam Nartey George, the lead proponent of the Promoting Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, 2021, has dismissed accusations that the remedial mechanisms recommended by the bill for gay, lesbian, gay people , etc constitute conversion therapy which is frowned upon by the United Nations.
Sam George told the BBC’s Claire McDonald in an interview broadcast on October 26, 2021 that the bill does not mention conversion therapy and does not endorse what has been banned by the UN.
He said the bill reflects the views and feelings of the majority of Ghanaians as well as the values and norms of Ghanaian society.
Sam George reiterated that Ghana, as a sovereign state, will not be dictated by the UN or any other organization on matters related to its values as a state.
“The UN did not say that approved medical treatment was torture, you say so. The UN does not determine what medical treatment is in Ghana. Ghana has its own laws. The UN does not didn’t make homosexuality a human right. The UN didn’t vote on it.
“Actually the Ghanaian government had the opportunity to say to the LGBTQ community that if you want a vote on this, table it in the United Nations Assembly and let’s vote on it, and then we will be guided by that, but to go out the window and say the UN has banned conversion therapy, nowhere in our bill did we mention conversion therapy,” he said.
Discussions on the bill tabled by some eight MPs began on Tuesday, October 26, 2021, when Parliament resumed sittings.
Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin highlighted a number of issues with the bill and assured Ghanaians that the values and beliefs of the society will be protected by the bill.
“In fact, it took on different dimensions. To me, that’s healthy for a maturing democracy like Ghana. It is important that we allow various forms of opinion to sound out their position on the bill. As Ghanaians, I want to advocate for us to accept the views of others on the perception they have and maintain the peace we have.
“It is a law that will take into account the wealth of common sense, human decency, morality, facts and logic. Ultimately, it will be a law that will transform this country into something else,” he said during his opening speech when parliament resumed on Tuesday.
The 38-page bill before Parliament states, among other things, that persons of the same sex who engage in sexual intercourse are “liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than seven hundred and fifty units fine and not more than five thousand penalty units, or imprisonment for at least three years and not more than five years or both.
The bill targets people who “present themselves as lesbian, gay, transgender, transsexual, queer, pansexual, allied, non-binary, or any other sexual or gender identity contrary to binary categories of man.” and female.
The bill also targets promoters and defenders of LGBTQ+ rights, including “a person who, through the use of media, a technology platform, a technology account or any other means, produces, purchases, markets, broadcasts, broadcasts, publishes or distributes any material for the purpose of promoting an activity prohibited under the bill, or any person uses any electronic device, Internet service, movie or other device capable of storing or of electronic transmission to produce, procure, market, broadcast, broadcast, publish or distribute any material for the purpose of promoting an activity prohibited under the bill” as well as a person who “promotes, supports the sympathy or change of public opinion towards an act prohibited under the bill”.
As part of its provisions, the bill clarifies that a violator can be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of at least six years or at most ten years of imprisonment. On the back of the public support the bill has received, a group of academics and other professionals have voiced their opposition to the bill.
According to the Group of 18, the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, once enacted, would erode a series of basic human rights, as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution.