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Anti-gay bill: ‘Sex toys should not be criminalised’ – Ursula Owusu-Ekuful

Communications Minister and Member of Parliament for Ablekuma West, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has raised concerns about the criminalisation of sex toys in the Anti-LGBT bill being considered in Parliament.

During the deliberations on the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021 in Parliament on Tuesday [Dec 12, 2023], Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful argued that clause 3(c), which criminalizes the use of sex toys, may unintentionally impact heterosexual couples who use such aids to enhance their intimate lives.

Speaking on the floor of Parliament, she argued that if the bill intends to criminalize sex toys, it should be clear that its scope extends beyond the LGBT community. Otherwise, she urged for the removal of clause 3(c) from the amendment.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said, “And I think we raised this when the committee was considering it that the proposed amendment in 3(c) may create unintended consequences because sexual intercourse between a man and an inanimate object or between a woman and an inanimate object would necessarily include sexual intercourse with all manner of aids that couple use to enhance the sexual experience.”

“And I’m not sure if that’s what the intention of this bill is. It would necessarily include sex toys and other aids that couples, heterosexual couples also use to enhance the sexual experience.

“So if that is what the house intends then we have to be clear in our minds that we may be criminalising activities which may not necessarily be limited to only those LGBTQI community that the target of this bill is, but it may also be targeting straight couples who use sex enhancement tools to enhance the sexual experience.

“So we need to be mindful of the unintended consequences of 3(c) could be and I’ll propose that 3(c) be deleted from this amendment.”

Parliament, however, faced challenges in reaching a consensus on the appropriate punishment for LGBTQ+ individuals engaging in unnatural carnal knowledge with each other. While the bill proposes a punishment of 3 to 5 years for such acts, the Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee recommended a maximum jail term of up to 3 years without specifying a minimum sentence.

The Chairman of the Committee defended this recommendation, citing considerations for individuals willing to undergo reforms. Despite the ongoing debates, the Speaker deferred questions to parliamentary drafters to craft a detailed form reflecting the intentions of various legislators.

The controversial LGBT bill, a private member’s bill spearheaded by eight MPs, aims to criminalize the promotion, advocacy, funding, and acts of homosexuality in Ghana. The bill has sparked discussions and debates around issues related to human rights and sexual freedoms.

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