Ghana’s Supreme Court Reschedules Hearing on Anti-LGBTQ Bill Challenge

Ghana's Supreme Court Reschedules Hearing on Anti-LGBTQ Bill
President Akufo-Addo is under pressure from both sides over the controversial bill

Ghana’s Supreme Court Reschedules Hearing on Anti-LGBTQ Bill Challenge

On Wednesday, Ghana’s Supreme Court addressed the legal battle surrounding one of Africa’s most stringent anti-LGBTQ bills, requiring lawyers to amend their motions due to offensive language in their submissions before postponing the case.

The bill, aimed at escalating restrictions on LGBTQ rights in Ghana, was unanimously passed by Parliament in February. However, President Nana Akufo-Addo has postponed signing it, citing pending challenges at the Supreme Court.

Chief Justice Gertrude Torkornoo’s ruling to adjourn the initial hearing without setting a new date further prolongs the resolution of the contentious bill. If enacted, the legislation could jeopardize donor funding for Ghana amid an ongoing economic crisis.

Already, homosexual acts in Ghana are punishable by up to three years in prison. The proposed bill would not only increase the sentence but also intensify crackdowns on LGBTQ individuals and advocates.

Human Rights Watch and other rights groups have expressed concerns that the bill could exacerbate violence and discrimination against LGBTQ people. They have urged President Akufo-Addo to veto the legislation.

Despite warnings from the finance ministry regarding potential adverse effects on international financing, proponents of the bill continue to push for its enactment.

Amanda Odoi and Richard Sky, both lawyers, filed separate challenges to the bill, seeking its declaration as illegal and preventing the president from signing it. Chief Justice Torkornoo instructed the plaintiffs and lawyers for the Speaker of Parliament to amend their motions, removing any “inappropriate, intemperate language,” before May 17.

Following the hearing, Attorney General and Justice Minister Godfred Yeboa Dame expressed satisfaction with the proceedings, indicating a commitment to the legal process surrounding the bill.

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