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Ghana’s high court dismisses bid to speed up anti-LGBTQ law passage

A high court in Ghana has dismissed a legal challenge to President Nana Akufo-Addo’s decision not to act immediately on an anti-LGBTQ bill passed by parliament in February, it ruled.

Lawmakers who unanimously passed legislation that would intensify a crackdown on LGBTQ rights in the West African nation have been calling on Akufo-Addo to promulgate the new law.

But the presidency has said it would not forward the bill to the president for assent until two legal challenges against it were settled, sparking criticism in parliament.

One opposition lawmaker, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, took the delay to the high court, which ruled against his challenge on Monday.

Justice Ellen Lordina Serwaa Mireku said the court had decided it would be inappropriate to compel Akufo-Addo to act on a bill that faced two pending Supreme Court challenges.

Dafeamekpor’s lawyer said he would appeal against the ruling.

Gay sex is already punishable with up to three years in jail in Ghana.

If the anti-LGBTQ bill take effect, it will lengthen that prison sentence and intensify a crackdown on the rights of LGBTQ people and those accused of promoting lesbian, gay or other minority sexual or gender identities.

Supporters of the bill have been pushing for its promulgation despite a finance ministry warning that it could jeopardise $3.8 billion in World Bank financing and derail a $3-billion International Monetary Fund loan package to help Ghana out of an economic crisis.

READ:  Multi-day protests over economic crisis grip Ghana's capital

The World Bank suspended new funding for Uganda after it signed one of the world’s toughest anti-LGBTQ laws in 2023.

By The African Mirror