US 'deeply troubled' by Ghana's anti-LGBTQ legislation

By Kanishka Singh

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Wednesday said it was "deeply troubled" by the passage of stringent anti-LGBTQ legislation in Ghana's parliament and urged a review of the "constitutionality of the bill."

WHY IT IS IMPORTANT

Ghana's parliament passed legislation that intensified a crackdown on the rights of LGBTQ people and those promoting lesbian, gay or other non-conventional sexual or gender identities in the West African country.

Gay sex was already punishable by up to three years in prison. The bill now also imposes a prison sentence of up to five years for the "wilful promotion, sponsorship, or support of LGBTQ+ activities."

KEY QUOTES

"The bill seeks to criminalize any person who simply identifies as LGBTQI+, as well as any friend, family, or member of the community who does not report them," the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

"The bill would also undermine Ghana's valuable public health, media and civic spaces, and economy," the department said.

It added: "The United States echoes the call by those Ghanaians who have urged a review of the constitutionality of the bill to protect the rights of all individuals in Ghana."

CONTEXT

A coalition of Christian, Muslim, and Ghanaian traditional leaders sponsored the legislation, which is one of the harshest of its kind in Africa.

Following the vote in parliament, the bill will be presented to President Nana Akufo-Addo after which he has seven days to assent or refuse to assent, according to Ghana's constitution.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by Sonali Paul)