Archbishop Tutu speaks out against homophobia in light of new anti-LGBTQ+ bill in Ghana

LGBT Rights Ghana have shared a video of Archbishop Desmond Tutu comparing homophobia to apartheid.

Split screen. On the left, the Ghanan flag. In the middle, a head shot of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. On the right, a photograph of a Pride flag waving in front of the sun.
Image: Wikimedia Commons / Benny Gool / Ludovic Bertron

Activist group LGBT Ghana have shared a video of Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, speaking out against LGBTQ+ persecution.

The video, which was produced as part of the United Nations Free and Equal campaign, sees Archbishop Tutu deliver an impassioned plea for equality.

“I have to tell you, I cannot keep quiet when people are penalised for something about which they can do nothing. First, gender. When women are excluded, just simply and solely because they are women.”

He continues, “But more perniciously, more ghastly, is the fact that people are penalised, killed, all sorts of ghastly things happen to them, simply and solely on the basis of their sexual orientation.”

He concludes, “I oppose such injustice with the same passion that I opposed apartheid.”

The 90 year-old Anglican cleric from South Africa, has been a fervent human rights campaigner all his life. As well as being a vocal opponent of the South African apartheid regime of the ’70s and ’80s, he has fought tirelessly for women’s suffrage and universal human rights.

In another interview shared by the group, Archbishop Tutu said, “I’m absolutely, utterly and completely certain that God wouldn’t be homophobic. I’d much rather go to hell, I really would much rather go to hell than go to a homophobic heaven.”

LGBT Rights Ghana shared the videos in the lead up to today’s contentious debate over a proposed bill that has been motioned by the conservative government calling it the ‘Family Values’ bill.

According to Reuters, Akoto Ampaw, a lawyer representing a coalition against the law, claims the bill would be “totalitarian” and “unconstitutional”.

Although homosexuality is already illegal in Ghana, punishable by sentences of up to three years, the new bill would lengthen jail terms. The bill would also allow for the enforcement of compulsory conversion therapy in many cases.

Similarly to the Russian propaganda law, the promotion of LGBTQ+ activities would become illegal as would any public display of same-sex affection or cross-dressing.

For anyone interested in following the debate, Rightify Ghana, a local human rights organisation, has been tweeting regular highlights.

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