Virginia Evelyn Palmer, the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana says the anti-LGBTQ+ bill before Ghana’s parliament will be detrimental to the country’s international trade prospects if eventually passed.
In an interview on TV Africa’s Breakfast Live show with host Dennis Osei Gyamfi, the diplomat said the passage of the bill will not only have damning economic consequences on the country but also create public order consequences.
“I have talked to a lot of USA-based businesses who are very concerned about it (the bill). And concerns are that consumers internationally would not want to buy products made in Ghana – give you cocoa for example- because it is made where there is repression if the bill passes,” she said.
“So I am raising the sort of economic consequences of that. I also think that there are public order consequences because even the discussion of the bill has already resulted in more violence against the LGBTQ+ community.”
The Parliament of Ghana passed an anti-gay bill on Wednesday, July 5 2023, which is set to tighten laws against members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Ghana’s 275 members of Parliament unanimously passed the bill, known as the 2021 Promotion of Appropriate Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill.
The bill is set to criminalize the promotion, advocacy, funding and acts of homosexuality. It stiffens prison terms up to ten years in prison for LGBTQ+ advocates and three years for anyone identifying as such.
Her Excellency Palmer explaining how the bill is discriminatory added that the bill was inconsistent with Ghana’s constitution and as such would negatively affect a lot of innocent lives.
“I see the bill as an encroachment on many different kinds of human rights,” she opined.
She added that, “It is a bill that I feel is inconsistent with Ghana’s constitution and commitment to human rights and a lot of people will be negatively affected.
“I want to really be careful and humble as a foreigner in approaching this, there are Ghanaian conversations that need to happen about this. So I am not talking about the morality of this, I am absolutely not advocating gay marriage as people have alleged. I am not advocating for special rights for anybody. I want to ensure that the Ghanaian constitution is respected and Ghana is well respected.”
“I commented before that we don’t want your straight children to be gay, we want your gay children to be safe and I think it is very important,” she concluded.