Ghanaian bishops ignore pope over LGBTQ+ rights

Ghanaian bishops LGBTQ+ rights

The Ghanaian Catholic Bishops Conference have ignored Pope Francis by publicly supporting a draconian bill making its way through parliament that broadly targets LGBTQ+ rights.

The Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill states, “homosexual practices [should be made] illegal in Ghana”. The bill purports to criminalize many LGBTQ+ basic freedoms of expression, assembly, and access to information.

“The position of the Catholic Church on LGBTQ+ has remained the same: that, such practices are against not only Christian Values but Muslim and Ghanaian Traditional values as well,” Ghana’s bishops wrote.

The penalties for violating the bill are severe.

Disseminating information about LGBTQ+ people can result in a five-to-ten-year prison sentence. Groups seeking to advance LGBTQ+ rights can be punished with six to ten years in prison. Funding or sponsoring vaguely defined prohibited activities can result in a five-to-ten-year sentence.

Pope Francis has repeatedly called for the Catholic Church to be more welcoming toward LGBTQ+ people.

In October, a documentary on the Pope’s life aired comments supporting same-sex civil unions. Then, during a September visit to Hungary and Slovakia, the Pope commented on the need for the Church to “do pastoral work” with same-sex couples.

Several days later, he remarked on the prospect of same-sex civil unions, saying that “if a homosexual couple wants to lead a life together, the State can give them safety, stability, inheritance.”

Even without this bill, Ghanaian laws already create a hostile environment for LGBTQ+ people. For example, the 1960 Criminal Offences Act criminalizes same-sex relations. Though rarely enforced, the law fosters a climate of violence and intimidation toward LGBT Ghanaians.

Given this climate of discrimination and instances of violence, the Ghanaian Catholic bishops’ call for the “abominable practice [of homosexuality to be] made illegal in our country” seems even more appalling.


Human Rights Watch

Church Times

New Ways Ministry

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News category: Palmerston, World.

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