Passage of LGBTQI bill will hurt Ghana’s economy- US Ambassador

Passage of LGBTQI bill will hurt Ghana’s economy- US Ambassador

The United States Ambassador to Ghana, Virginia Evelyn Palmer, has strongly expressed her disappointment with the recent passage of the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill by the Ghanaian Parliament on Wednesday, February 28, 2024.

The passed bill known as the anti-gay bill, criminalises and proscribes LGBT activities has received some form of criticism from some individuals and international NGOs.

In a Facebook post on Thursday, February 29, 2024, the US Ambassador Palmer expressed her dissatisfaction about the bill’s approval.

Her concerns were limited to its potential harm to Ghana’s economy, reputation, and public health and order.

The bill stipulates penalties, including a 6-month to 3-year jail term for individuals engaged in LGBT activities and a 3 to 5-year jail term for promoters and sponsors of such activities.

Ambassador Palmer stated that the bill not only infringes on the basic human rights of the LGBT community but also undermines the constitutional rights of all Ghanaians, including freedom of speech, assembly, and the press.

According to her, the adverse effects of the bill on public order and health, arguing that its enactment could have negative consequences for Ghana’s international standing and economic well-being.

“I am saddened because some of the smartest, most creative, most decent people I know are LGBT. The bill Parliament passed takes away not only their basic human rights but those of all Ghanaians because it undermines their constitutional rights to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of the press,” she indicated.

She further noted that “It will be bad for public order and public health. If enacted, it will also hurt Ghana’s international reputation and Ghana’s economy.”

According to her, “Lots of ethnic communities make Ghana strong, stable, and attractive for investments. I hope it stays that way with regard to the LGBTQ community. They should be managed to be made the colour of the money green or red if it’s Ghanaian, but if there is discrimination, then that will send a signal not to [only] LGBTQ investors and exporters but to other American companies that Ghana is less welcoming than I am telling people that it is now.”

By Edem Mensah-Tsotorme

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