Afenyo-Markin withdraws proposed amendments to anti-LGBTQ+ bill

The Effutu MP had earlier argued that the punitive measures set out in the anti-LGBTQ+ bill would not contribute to the rehabilitation of offenders

Alexander Afenyo-Markin, the New Patriotic Party Member of Parliament for Effutu, on Wednesday withdrew his proposed amendments to the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021.

The withdrawal followed votes in the House against two of the MP’s proposals which appealed for the replacement of imprisonment with community service for individuals found to have engaged in LGBTQ+ activity.

Afenyo-Markin, who is also the deputy Majority Leader, in line with orders 170 and 171 of the House standing orders, had called for amendments to clauses 6 to 16 of the bill.

The object of the “Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021” is to provide for formal recognition of Ghanaian family values as proscribing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or related (LGBTQ+) activities.

He also withdrew a new amendment in which he called for offenders to undergo a mandatory counselling programme focusing on proper human sexual rights and Ghanaian family values by way of a post-conviction sentence.

Misalignment with bill

“Mr Speaker, I have been defeated by a voice vote … I am withdrawing the amendments as a result of respect for the chair and the chair’s directive that they are not supposed to be part of the bill,” Afenyo-Markin said.

In his argument, he told Parliament that punitive measures would not contribute to the rehabilitation of offenders.

Furthermore, he conveyed concern about the state of Ghana’s prisons and their inability to provide offenders with the necessary rehabilitation.

The MP for Effutu proposed, therefore, to replace the minimum two-month term of imprisonment in the draft legislation with a minimum one month of community service for individuals found guilty of LGBTQ+ activities.

Alban Bagbin, the Speaker of Parliament, explained that the clauses were being withdrawn because the proposed amendments did not align with the bill.

Parliament on Thursday (16 February 2024) began the second consideration stage for the “Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021”, following a motion filed by Afenyo-Markin.

The bill had already gone through first consideration and was about to be taken through a third reading when Afenyo-Markin moved his motion.

Standing on order 171 of the House, Afenyo-Markin in his substantive motion appealed to the Speaker for the bill to be taken through a second consideration stage.

Order 171(1) of the new standing orders of the House states: “Where a member objects to delete, amend to introduce a provision in the bill, which has passed through the consideration stage, the member may immediately before the sponsor rise to move the motion for the third reading of the bill, move that the bill a second consideration stage either wholly or in respect of a particular part or part of the bill or some proposed new clauses or new schedules.

“(2) Notice of this motion is not required and if the motion is agreed to the bill shall immediately pass the second consideration stage.

“(3) Where the whole bill has been ordered to pass through a second consideration, the House shall move through the bill in a manner provided for in order 170.”

In his submission Afenyo-Markin noted that the essence of his motion was to allow the House to consider thoroughly the amendments that he had proposed to the bill, with a view to substituting community service for incarceration.

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