President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Monday said an anti-gay bill being debated in Parliament has been “modified” following his government’s intervention.
Speaking during a joint news conference with the visiting US Vice-President Kamala Harris, Mr Akufo-Addo said the bill was not official government policy but rather had been put forward by a “handful” of private members.
He said the attorney general had submitted opinions to a parliamentary committee about “the constitutionality or otherwise of several of its provisions”.
“My understanding … is that substantial elements of the bill have already been modified as a result of the intervention of the attorney general,” he said without giving details.
President Akufo-Addo refused to say what he would do if the bill passed – and hoped the parliament would consider the sensitivity of the human rights aspect.
“We will see what the final outcome will be,” he added.
Ms Harris said she had addressed the issue with President Akufo-Addo and said the US considered it a matter of human rights.
If it becomes law, the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Value Bill would imprison those that identify as LGBTQ and criminalise advocacy for gay rights,
Ghana’s parliament held public hearings on the bill starting in 2021. It is unclear when it will be put to a vote.
Gay sex is already punishable with up to three years in jail in Ghana, where homophobic attitudes are widespread, but the draft law would impose longer sentences.
Mr Akufo-Addo has previously spoken out against same-sex marriage, saying it would never be legalised while he is president.