Ghanaian lawmakers are facing backlash over a bill before Ghana’s parliament that aims to make gay rights advocacy illegal.

Eight lawmakers are sponsoring the bill. The bill would impose a maximum 10-year prison sentence on people who support and advocate for same-sex and gay rights. Individuals or groups would also not be allowed to provide social or medical support to LGBTQ+ people.   

In January, police raided Ghana’s first LGBTQ+ community center in Accra. Twenty-one gay rights advocates are now on trial after having been arrested at a workshop for allegedly championing LGBTQ+ rights.

Politician Samuel Nartey George and the seven other parliamentarians who presented this bill are hopeful that their private members bill to ban advocacy and make LGBTQ+ people pay for their conversion therapy will be passed into law in six months. According to George, “homosexuality is not a human right. It is a lifestyle choice. A sexual preference”.

Alban Bagbin, the speaker of the House of Parliament, has assured the law makers that he is very positive that the bill will be passed into law. “I am very clear in my mind that the Parliament of Ghana will pass this bill,” he said in a statement . “I have gone through all the provisions of the constitution, laws, and international obligations.”

The head of LGBTQ+ Rights Ghana, Alex Kofi Donkor, described the bill as backward and wants the international community to pressure the government to withdraw it.  

“This is simply absurd and simply unacceptable in the 21st century,” Donkor said. “I think this is the time that organizations and countries that believe in human rights begin to speak out about this hate bill that is being introduced in Ghana. Ghana needs to be called out on the international level.”