Anti-gay bill questionable, won’t stand the test in court – Afenyo-Markin

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Majority Leader Alexander Afenyo-Markin has expressed concerns about the constitutionality of the proposed Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values, popularly known as the anti-LGBTQ+ bill currently under consideration by Parliament.

He believes it has significant legal flaws and would not withstand scrutiny in court.

Afenyo-Markin previously advocated for adjustments to the bill, arguing that punitive measures would not be effective in achieving its purported goal of rehabilitation.

He reiterated these concerns in an interview with Bernard Avle on The Point of View on Citi TV on Monday.

“I think the law in its present form has questionable constitutional issues. The law as I see it, from how I’ve seen it, cannot stand any serious test in any constitutional court. I think that the law would have serious challenges at the Supreme Court. If it faces a constitutionality test, it will fail. Not the entire law, but aspects of it, will fail. That’s my view,” he said.

The Effutu legislator went on to question the effectiveness of the proposed law in achieving its stated aim of reforming LGBTQ+ individuals.

He also expressed concerns that the bill could stifle free speech by reintroducing the previously abolished criminal libel law.

“You want people to reform, is that the way to help them reform? I thought that is not the way to go about it.”

Afenyo-Markin also disclosed that some Members of Parliament have been unable to publicly criticize the bill for fear of victimization.

“The way the whole thing was introduced, it created some fear among legislators, that if I don’t support it, it means I am supporting a man to marry a man and supporting a woman to marry a woman, so I won’t touch it. But, If we pay attention to the details, we can come up with a law that will be acceptable to all.”

Afenyo-Markin emphasized the need for a more nuanced approach to the bill.

He believes that through careful consideration and revisions, a law addressing the concerns outlined in the bill can be developed while upholding constitutional principles and individual rights.

Parliament, earlier in February, approved a three-to-five-year jail term for individuals who willfully promote or sponsor LGBTQ activities, while those caught in the act are to be sentenced to a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 3 years.

During a clause-by-clause amendment of the bill on the promotion of proper human sexual rights and Ghanaian family values, Mr Afenyo-Markin stated that the punitive action would not aid in the rehabilitation of the culprit.

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