AG Advocates for Live Coverage of Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill Proceedings

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, has petitioned the Chief Justice to permit live coverage of hearings concerning the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill, colloquially known as the anti-LGBTQ+ bill.

In a letter directed to the Chief Justice, the Attorney General underscored the substantial public interest surrounding the anti-gay bill as the rationale behind the request.

“Respectfully, in view of the public interest in the cases concerning the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill 2024 (the Bill), I would like to recommend that the media (including radio and television) be given full access to the relevant courts to undertake coverage of all proceedings in those cases concerning the Bill. The cases under reference are as follows:

Supreme Court
1. Dr. Amanda Odoi v The Speaker of Parliament and Another (Suit No. J1/13/2023)
2. Richard Dela Sky v The Parliament of Ghana and Another (Suit No. J1/9/2024)

High Court
1. Mr. Paul Boama-Sefa v The Speaker of Parliament and Another (Suit No. D45/SF.128/2023)
2. Dr. Prince Obiri-Korang v The Attorney-General (Suit No. J1/18/2021)

“It is my respectful view that the transparency engendered by coverage of the proceedings would be in the best interest of the administration of justice.”

Broadcast Journalist Richard Dela Sky and Researcher Dr. Amanda Odoi are scheduled to appear before the Supreme Court on Wednesday, May 8, 2024, to present their respective lawsuits challenging the passage of the anti-LGBTQ+ Bill and its potential assent.

These contentious lawsuits have effectively halted the Bill’s transmission from parliament to the Presidency for President Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo to potentially sign into law.

Richard Sky, also a private legal practitioner, and Dr. Amanda Odoi, a researcher at the University of Cape Coast, are contesting the constitutionality of the anti-LGBTQ+ Bill’s passage by Parliament.

President Akufo-Addo has refrained from receiving the bill, citing the pending cases at the Supreme Court as the basis.

In his action at the Supreme Court, Richard Dela Sky is challenging the constitutionality of Parliament’s passage of the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill. He seeks various reliefs, including a declaration that the Bill contravenes the Constitution and an injunction to prevent its enforcement.

The bill, which criminalizes LGBTQ+ activities and their promotion, advocacy, and funding, was approved by Parliament on Wednesday, February 28, 2024. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has indicated that he will await the Supreme Court’s ruling before making a decision on the controversial bill.

Reliefs sought

Mr. Sky in his writ is seeking four declarations and four orders as follows;

i. A declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 33(5) of the Constitution of 1992, in light of Article 12(1)(2), 15(1), 17(1) of the ‘Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill, 2024’ by Parliament on 28th February 2024, Contravened the Constitution and is to that extend null, void and of no effect.

ii. A declaration that the Speaker of Parliament contravened Article 108(a) (11) of the Constitution, in light of Articles 296(a)(b)(c), by admitting and allowing Parliament to proceed upon and pass The Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill, 2024 into law as the same imposes a charge upon the Consolidated Fund or other public funds of Ghana.

iii. A declaration that Parliament exceeded its authority under Articles 106(2) and 108(a)(ii) in passing “The Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill 2024, as the same imposes a charge upon the Consolidated Fund or other Public funds of Ghana.

iv. A declaration that, upon the true and proper interpretation of Articles 102 and 104(1) of the Constitution, Parliament lacked the requisite quorum to pass “The Human Sexual Rights and Family Values BilI, 2024.”

v. An order restraining the Speaker of Parliament and the Clerk to Parliament from presenting The Human and Sexual Values Bill, 2024 to the President of the Republic for his assent.

vi. An order restraining the President of the Republic from assenting to The Human and Sexual Values Bill, 2024, as such action will directly contravene the Constitutional safeguards of liberties and rights of Ghanaians.

vii. An injunction barring any attempts to enforce the provisions of The Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bil 2024, particularly those criminalizing same-sex relationships and related advocacy efforts.

viii. Such further orders or directions as to this Honourable Court may seem to meet.

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