The Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has urged members of parliament to exercise caution in the consideration of the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values bill, commonly known as the anti-LGBTQ+ bill. Speaking on the floor of parliament during the deliberations on Tuesday, December 12, 2023, the Member of Parliament for Ablekuma West raised concerns about a proposed amendment to Clause 3 of the bill, cautioning against unintended consequences.
Specifically, Owusu-Ekuful highlighted her reservations about a proposed amendment in Clause 3(c) that seeks to criminalize sex toys. The minister argued against the criminalization of sex toys, emphasizing that such a measure could inadvertently impact not only the LGBTQI community but also heterosexual couples who use these aids to enhance their sexual experiences.
“I think we raised this when the committee was considering it (the bill) that the proposed amendment in 3(c) may create unintended consequences because sexual intercourse between a man and an inanimate object or a woman and an inanimate object would necessarily include sexual intercourse with all manner of aids that couples use to enhance the sexual experience,” Owusu-Ekuful stated.
Expressing concern over the ambiguity of the bill’s intentions, the Minister continued, “So if that is what the house intends, then we have to be clear in our minds that we may be criminalizing activities which may not necessarily be limited to only those LGBTQI communities that the target of this bill is, but it may also be targeting straight couples who use sex enhancement tools to enhance the sexual experience.”
In response to her concerns, Owusu-Ekuful proposed the removal of the said amendment from the bill, emphasizing the need to carefully consider the unintended consequences of such legislative measures.
“So, we need to be mindful of the unintended consequences of 3(c) could be. And I’ll propose that 3(c) be deleted from this amendment,” she suggested.
The cautionary remarks by Minister Ursula Owusu-Ekuful underscore the ongoing debate surrounding the anti-LGBTQ+ bill and the importance of careful deliberation to avoid unintended consequences that could impact a broader spectrum of individuals beyond the bill’s intended targets. The discussions continue as parliament considers amendments to the controversial legislation.