Thursday, April 18

LGBTQ+ bill: Afenyo-Markin loses bid to substitute imprisonment with non-custodial sentence

Mr Alexander Afenyo-Markin
 Mr Alexander Afenyo-Markin

Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin has lost his bid to convince Parliament to substitute custodial sentence with non-custodial sen­tence in the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, 2022.

The Effutu MP lost his advocacy after the House voted against his 12 proposed amendments which, in his view, would promote reformation of victims and practitioners of same sex relationships.

Mr Alexander Afenyo-Markin
Mr Alexander Afenyo-Markin

At the second consideration of the controversial bill in Parliament yesterday, Mr Afenyo-Markin called for further consultation to ensure the bill achieved its purpose; to reform rather than condemn victims and practitioners.

Mr Afenyo-Markin who has always stated that he supports the object of the bill argued that the punitive sentencing regime -three to five years in jail if found guilty – would not aid in rehabilitating the culprits.

When Mr Afenyo-Markin first moved his proposed amendments last Thursday, he argued that “the issue before us is behavioural, and it is my humble view that in dealing with behavioural matters, incarcera­tion is not the solution. It makes the matter worse.

“To jail a person for his/her sexuality will not be the solution in maintaining our Ghanaian family values and ensuring proper human sexual rights.”

Firming up this position yester­day, Mr Afenyo-Markin said “In principle, I am with them on the object of the Bill and materially, major parts we are in agreement. No attempt whatsoever, is being made by me to stall this all-import­ant bill. However, I want us to pass the Bill not as a divided house,” he submitted.

But the Speaker, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, said the House had gone beyond the stage of consultation and accused the Effutu MP of abusing the practice and procedure of the House.

“Actions speak louder than words, take note of that. It is not a matter of saying that you are not opposed to the bill. Your actions are speaking differently from the words you are using. This House must continue to consider and do what it is authorised to do. I can no longer extend this grace for a delay in the processing of this bill,” the Speaker stressed.

When the first amendment was put to a voice vote, Mr Afenyo-Mar­kin was the lone voice heard sup­porting it with a well-represented minority caucus opposing same with a ‘no’ vote.

Still convinced he could prevail, Mr Afenyo-Markin prayed the Speaker to undertake secret ballot because he believed some of his colleagues were with him on his advocacy though the Standing Or­ders of the House does not support secret vote in consideration of bills.