Hon Alexander Afenyo-Markin, the Deputy Majority leader in Parliament on Thursday, February 15, arrested the third reading of the Promotion of Proper Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, commonly referred to as the anti-gay bill.

He raised concerns over the imprisonment of individuals for their sexual orientation under the Bill and called on the House to take a second consideration to enable him to move some amendments on the custodial sentencing.

The Bill proposes a six-month to three-year jail term for those caught in the act and three to five years jail for promoters and activists of LGBTQ.

Coming under Standing Order 1711, Afenyo-Markin advocated amendments that would see prison sentences replaced with community service.

While expressing support for the overall objectives of the bill, Afenyo-Markin argued that penalizing individuals with jail terms for their sexuality could undermine Ghanaian family values and human sexual rights rather than protect them.

He said, “Jailing a person for their sexuality is not the solution in maintaining the Ghanaian family values and ensuring proper human sexual rights.”

Hon Alexander Afenyo-Markin

The third reading would have signified the passage of the anti-gay Bill by Parliament, which would then be submitted to the President for assent.

The Deputy Majority leader disclosed that the government is on the verge of introducing a Community Sentencing Bill, which aims to offer non-custodial sentences as alternatives to imprisonment. He urged the House to consider this approach by amending the anti-gay bill to include community service options.

This measure, he said, will lead to a more compassionate and effective judicial system.

“I strongly hold the conviction that the integration of community service as an alternative to incarceration will substantially bolster the efficacy and compassion of our judicial system.”

“The essence of this motion is for the august body to thoroughly consider amendments proposed to the bill with a view of substituting community service for incarceration,” Afenyo-Markin stated.

The Deputy leader subsequently introduced 13 amendments after his motion for a second reading.

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