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President will follow laws in assenting anti-LGBTQ+ Bill – Office of the President

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has stated that his Administration will uphold the rule of law in the processes of assent to the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill, 2024.

He said issues raised about the Bill and currently pending before the law court would have to be dealt with before his Administration could signify assenting or otherwise to the Bill.

A statement issued by the Office of the President, and copied to the Clerk to Parliament, the Majority Leader, among others, stated that, under the prevailing circumstances, it was appropriate ‘to cease and desist from transmitting the Bill to the President until the matters before the Supreme Court are resolved’.

‘This Office is aware of two pending applications for an order of interlocutory injunction, both filed on March 07, 2024, in the Supreme Court in Dr Amanda Odoi vrs The Speaker of Parliament and the Attorney-General, and Richard Sky vrs The Parliament of Ghana and The Attorney-General, respectively, to restrain you and Parliament from
transmitting the Bill to the President, and, also, to restrain the President from signifying his assent to the Bill, pending the final determination of the matter.’

The statement said the Attorney-General had, by a letter dated March 18, 2024, informed the President that he had been duly served with both applications.

Consequently, the President has been advised not to take any step in relation to the Bill until the matters raised by the suits are determined.

‘It is the understanding of this Office that both applications have also been duly served on Parliament.

‘Therefore, it would be improper for you to transmit the Bill to the President and equally improper for this Office to receive the Bill until the Supreme Court determines the matters raised in the suits.

‘Indeed, it is settled law that, during the pendency of an interlocutory injunction application, the status quo ante ought to be preserved, and no action should be taken that would result in prejudicing the injunctive relief sought and underminin
g authority of the court,’ the statement explained.

The statement said, it had come to the attention of the Office that, while the President and other senior officials of the Presidency were at Peduase for a Cabinet Retreat recently, there were attempts to submit the Bill to the Jubilee House for the President to signify his assent or otherwise to the Bill.

The Bill, passed recently, with an overwhelming backing of Ghana’s two major political parties – the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) – is yet to receive a Presidential assent.

It proposes a prison sentence of up to three years for anyone convicted of identifying as LGBTQ+, and imposing a maximum five-year jail term for forming or funding LGBTQ+ groups.

Generally, it seeks to punish those who take part in LGBTQ sexual acts, as well as those who wilfully promote, sponsor, or support LGBTQ+ activities.

Commonly referred to as the anti-gay bill, it received sponsorship from a coalition, comprising Christian, Mus
lim and Ghanaian traditional leaders.

Amnesty International has warned that the Bill poses significant threats to the fundamental rights and freedoms of LGBTQ+ people, urging the President to tread cautiously in the passage of the Bill into law.

Source: Ghana News Agency