Parliament has granted approval for an amendment to the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill, commonly known as the anti-gay bill, which entails harsher penalties for individuals involved in LGBTQ activities.
The proposed amendment, put forward by co-sponsor of the bill Sam George, aims to introduce stricter punishment for those who aid, facilitate, encourage, or promote LGBTQ activities. Under the revised bill, offenders will face a minimum custodial sentence of three months and a maximum of six months, or a fine ranging from GH₵600 to GH₵1200.
Sam George defended the amendment in Parliament, stressing the need for stringent measures to ensure compliance with the law once enacted. He emphasized that the proposed penalties, including the fines, were essential deterrents to discourage LGBTQ promotion.
However, Deputy Majority Leader Alexander Afenyo-Markin opposed the amendment, advocating for a shorter custodial sentence of not more than three months. He argued against lengthy imprisonments, citing the burden on state resources and the potential negative effects on individuals incarcerated.
Afenyo-Markin proposed a reduced sentencing range of one to three months, highlighting the court’s ability to utilize plea bargains and fines as alternative measures. He emphasized the importance of retaining the option of a fine, emphasizing the role of fines in addressing overcrowding in prisons and promoting judicial discretion.
In his plea to fellow parliamentarians, Afenyo-Markin urged caution in considering the implications of removing the option for fines and reiterated the need for a balanced approach in sentencing.