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MPs being denied visa for advocating anti-LGBTQ+ Bill – Arthur Kennedy

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A senior member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) based in the United States, Arthur Kobina Kennedy, has alleged that some MPs have been denied visas to travel abroad following the introduction of the anti-LGBTQ+ Bill to Parliament.

In a piece titled: ‘Tolerance and the Debate about Homosexuality in Ghana’, he stated that the strong support the bill enjoys from the religious groups has been met with stiff opposition from intellectuals, government officials, and the diplomatic corps who fear the bill would endanger the lives of LGBT community members.

“Indeed, I wish, in the words of the sages, we had ‘allowed sleeping dogs to lie’. The homosexual community, in my view, were doing fine, in their private spaces, subject to the protections of the law accorded to all citizens,” he said.

He argues that the most appropriate action to have been taken concerning the activities of the LGBTQ+ community in the country was to tolerate them.

“Unfortunately, the opposition to the bill, motivated by the noble desire to promote tolerance for our homosexual community, has been characterized by intolerance,” he added.

He further expressed concern about the threats proponents of the bill have faced since the introduction of the bill.  

“Some lawmakers, including the bill’s sponsor, Sam George have been threatened publicly and privately. Calls have been made to the Speaker, threatening MPs. Some have been denied visas and warned to stay away from this issue. It is sad that this intimidation is coming mainly from the Western diplomatic community.”

Meanwhile, he has urged that the country exercises tolerance for the LGBT community and other social minorities at large.

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“As JFK put it, ‘Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one’s own beliefs. Rather, it condemns the oppression or persecution of others.’”

He advised that the Ghanaian citizenry be encouraged and sensitised to tolerate minority groups.

He stated that “The problem of this bill is not the Parliament. It is reflecting public opinion. So let us continue to educate the public.

“Finally, to Parliament, continue this new attitude, by championing the interest of the public for Healthcare, jobs and for fighting the canker of corruption.”

Read his article below:

TOLERANCE AND THE DEBATE ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY IN GHANA

The pending legislation about homosexuality in Ghana has led to unfortunate manifestations of intolerance. Parliament is considering a bill that would criminalize certain aspects of homosexual conduct in Ghana.

In response, significant segments of the community, including Christian, Muslim and traditional authorities have offered support. On the other hand, there is an impressive array of intellectuals and government officials who are opposing the proposed bill. Indeed, a significant part of the diplomatic community too, has weighed in, to oppose the bill.

My goal today, is not to opine on the merits of the bill. Indeed, I wish, in the words of the sages, we had “allowed sleeping dogs to lie”. The homosexual community, in my view, were doing fine, in their private spaces, subject to the protections of the law accorded to all citizens.

Unfortunately, the opposition to the bill, motivated by the noble desire to promote tolerance for our homosexual community, has been characterised by intolerance.

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Some lawmakers, including the bill’s sponsor, Sam George have been threatened publicly and privately. Calls have been made to the Speaker, threatening MPs. Some have been denied visas and warned to stay away from this issue. It is sad that this intimidation is coming mainly from the Western diplomatic community.

In addition to democracy and the rule of law, the West exemplifies, to the eternal admiration of people like me, the attitude of tolerance. It is at the heart of multi-party democracy and the support of minority rights etc that make the West such a powerful example to the rest of the world.

As JFK put it, “Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one’s own beliefs. Rather, it condemns the oppression or persecution of others.”.

The West argued that dealing with China and Russia was better than isolating them. The West insisted on constructive engagement with Apartheid South Africa while we beat War drums. They were right…Let us not fight intolerance with intolerance.

The next time there is an election dispute or tribal fighting and the West comes preaching tolerance, it would help if opportunists cannot remind us of Western intolerance!

The problem with this bill is not the Parliament. It is reflecting public opinion. Let us continue to educate the public.

Finally, to Parliament, continue this new attitude, by championing the interest of the public for Healthcare, jobs and for fighting the canker of corruption.

Long live tolerance.

Long live Ghana.

Arthur Kobina Kennedy

October 11, 2021

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