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Ghana’s Supreme Court Hears Anti-LGBTQ Law Challenge

GHANA’S Supreme Court commenced hearings on Wednesday regarding an injunction aimed at overturning the contentious Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill, which significantly restricts LGBTQ rights in the country. Lawmakers approved the bill in February, prompting widespread international condemnation despite garnering significant support among the conservative populace of the West African nation.

As the December elections loom, with the task of selecting President Nana Akufo-Addo’s successor, the issue of LGBTQ rights has surged into the political spotlight. However, Akufo-Addo has refrained from promulgating the law, pending legal resolution.


Ghanaian broadcaster Richard Dela-Sky has filed a suit with the Supreme Court, challenging the constitutionality of the law. In response, the court’s judges granted Dela-Sky seven days to submit a fresh motion with additional documents to contest the anti-LGBTQ bill. The cases, including a second challenge to the law, were adjourned to a later date.

In a rare move, Ghana’s Attorney General requested permission for the live broadcast of the proceedings to enhance transparency. ‘It is my respectful view that the transparency to be engendered by coverage of the proceedings would be in the best interest of the administration of justice,’ the attorney’s office stated in a letter.

The decision to broadcast Supreme Court hearings publicly is highly uncommon in Ghana, with the last instance occurring during a 2020 election petition filed by former President John Dramani Mahama.

Akufo-Addo has emphasised his reluctance to sign off on the new law until legal challenges against it are resolved. The bill has elicited criticism from various countries, including the United States, and raised concerns within Ghana’s finance ministry, warning of potential losses in World Bank funding.

Amidst Ghana’s emergence from severe economic challenges, exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, the proposed legislation imposes jail terms ranging from six months to three years for engaging in LGBTQ activities, with harsher penalties for promoting or sponsoring such activities.

Currently, thirty African nations prohibit homosexuality, according to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), reflecting broader social and legal challenges facing LGBTQ communities across the continent.

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