Monday, September 04, 2006

Government ghaners church’s support

The clergy in Ghana are backing their government’s decision to ban a conference for gay men and lesbians. The government has pledged to take “disciplinary action” on anyone “breaking the law”, reports GayWired.

Because homosexuality is illegal in Ghana, this has been widely interpreted as referring to anyone attending the conference.

Information Minister Kwamena Bartels, said in a statement that “Government would like to make it absolutely clear that it shall not permit the proposed conference anywhere in Ghana… Unnatural carnal knowledge is illegal under our criminal code. Homosexuality, lesbianism and bestiality are therefore offences under the laws of Ghana.”

While he has the backing of the clergy (surprise, surprise) apparently some members of the public have used radio phone-in programmes to (anonymously) criticise the government’s lack of respect for freedom of speech. But of course, others support the Church’s stance.

Once again, when draconian measures are taken to deny LGBT people their legal rights, religious leaders can be counted on to cheerlead the persecution.

The South African edition of The Independent, reports that the Ghanaian government claims that allowing the conference will undermine the country’s “culture and morality”.

In a statement that quite clearly contradicts his own stance, Mr Bartels told The Independent: “It's not illegal for them to meet and talk, but we in Ghana don't want to encourage it. They can go and do it elsewhere.”

Another report stated that the conference centre had denied that any such conference was planned. One might speculate that the government and the church made it all up in an effort simply to create a moral panic and stir up homophobia.


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