Ghana Bans Gay Conference As Against Its Culture

GhanaGhana’s government said on Friday it was banning a gay and lesbian conference due to be held next week for fear it would encourage homosexuality and undermine the West African country’s culture and morality.
“Ghanaians are unique people whose culture, morality and heritage totally abhor homosexual and lesbian practices and indeed any other form of unnatural sexual acts,” Information Minister Kwamena Bartels said in a statement.
“Supporting such a conference or even allowing it will be encouraging that tendency which the law forbids,” he said.
Homosexuality is outlawed in many African countries, including Ghana, and is often condemned as being “un-African” or a “disease” imported from the West. In some traditional beliefs homosexuals are said to be cursed or bewitched.
It was not immediately clear who had planned the conference in Ghana, which the government said was due to be held on Monday. The local gay community operates underground and some groups did not want to discuss the government ban.
“It seems the government got wind of something. It goes along with all the things that have been happening in places like Cameroon and Nigeria,” said Wendy Landau, a researcher at South Africa-based gay and lesbian rights group Behind the Mask.
“It’s kind of the spirit of the times in Africa,” she said.
Tabloid newspapers in Cameroon launched a crusade against what their editors said was “deviant behaviour” earlier this year, publishing lists of presumed homosexuals, while gays and lesbians in Nigeria are fiercely condemned both in the mainly Muslim north and the largely Christian south.
Only South Africa bucks the continental trend. Its cabinet last week gave its blessing to a bill allowing gay marriage, which would make it the first African nation to grant homosexual couples the same rights as their straight counterparts.
Anonymous callers to private radio phone-in programmes in Ghana’s capital Accra called the government’s decision illegal, saying it was a breach of fundamental freedoms of association and speech.
“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,” Information Minister Bartels said.
from Reuters

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