Ghanaian News

Parliament yet to send LGBTQ+ bill to President for assent – Majority Leader reveals

The Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, says Parliament has not yet completed the process of “tidying up” the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill, 2021 before sending it to the Presidency for assent.

He said the bill went through several amendments and it had to be tidied up before being transmitted to the President.

Soon after being tidied up, he said, the Clerk-to-Parliament would have to authenticate it for the Speaker to certify it.

“Currently, the Speaker of Parliament and the Clerk-to-Parliament are yet to receive the authenticated bill for the process to be completed and the bill transmitted to the President,” he said.

Process ongoing
Speaking to the press in Parliament today, March 4, 2024, Mr Afenyo-Markin said “It is when all these are done that the bill is forwarded to the President for his assent.

“As the Leader of the House, I can say on authority that we have not completed the process and the public needs to know this so that a certain impression is not created that Parliament has transmitted the bill to the Presidency,” he said.

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Article 106 is very clear that when a bill is passed by Parliament, the President must within seven days signify his assent of the bill.

However, in the event he refuses to sign the bill into law, Parliament must be informed within 14 days the reasons for which the President was not able to assent the bill.

If Parliament feels strongly that the bill is critical and must be passed into law, the House can compel the President by a two-thirds majority resolution to assent the bill.

Process still ongoing
The MP for Effutu said currently the Draft Department of Parliament was currently still compiling the bill after its passage by the House.

He said even before being sent to the President, some changes needed to be done to the complete the draft bill.

“The Drafting Department is still in the process of compiling the bill; they are putting together all the amendments and legal language,” he said.

After such process had been completed, he said the sponsors of the bill would also have to peruse the final draft after which the Clerk-to-Parliament would have to authenticate it and forward it to the Speaker for certification.

“So, we have not even completed the first leg of compilation; so, nobody should sit somewhere counting days.

“The reckoning of time will only be triggered on receipt by the President of this bill,” he said.

Test law SC
Following the passage of the bill, Mr Afenyo-Markin said the concerns raised ahead of the House enacting the bill ought to be tested in the Supreme Court since the bill concerned the rights of citizens.

“The test here is whether a sexual right which in itself being brought to a question should lead to a criminal penalty.

“If as a nation we say that our values system does not support a man-to-man or woman-to-woman relationships, are we also saying that the needs of reforming people with that orientation is to incarcerate them and how does this position stand in accord with the Constitution?” he said.

Agreeing that it was good to legislate against same sex marriage, the MP particularly called for criminalisation of those who enticed under-age boys and adults who engaged in paedophiling.

“Because a child below 18 does not have the necessary means to take a decision and is not an adult enough per our laws,” he said.

He pointed out that as a country, tolerance was part of the value system, a reason a middle ground must be found in dealing with homosexuality.

“Ultraconservatism must not be the only way to reform, transform and improve a society since our judiciary has new sentencing regime,” he said.

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