In certain terms, Ghana’s president Nana Akufo-Addo said that while same-sex marriage is not on the country’s agenda as of yet, the issue is sure to be addressed in the near future.
“These social, cultural issues … I don’t believe that Ghana, so far, a sufficiently strong coalition has emerged to change public opinion, and have a new paradigm in Ghana,” Akufo-Addo said. “Like elsewhere in the world, the activities of individuals and groups [will lead to change].”
While African sentiment toward homosexuality is still negative, Akufo-Addo likened Ghana to the UK in the 1960s, when homosexuality was still illegal.
“I lived [in the UK] at a period when among British politicians it was anathema to even think about changing the law. But the activities of individuals and groups and a certain awareness grew and grew stronger, and it forced a change in law,” Akufo-Addo said.
And change is certainly the goal for many LGBT groups in Ghana. According to PinkNews, it is currently illegal to be gay in Ghana, the penalty for which is up to three years in prison. Violent attacks against LGBT people are reportedly common, and even encouraged by religious leaders and in some cases the media.
The Human Rights Advocacy Center of Ghana is avidly working to promote human rights and protection for LGBT citizens in the country.
Solace Brothers Foundation is another advocacy group that hires paralegals to challenge the unfair treatment of many LGBT individuals in legal situations.
“The judges in Ghana who would normally handle LGBT rights are very homophobic and even though we have human rights lawyers who support us … generally it is very hard to get support from [other] lawyers,” Abu, founder of the Solace Brothers Foundation said.
He continued, “We are not making it about LGBT rights, we want it to be human rights … these are our rights, and as every other human being in Ghana we also have our rights.”