The President of the Ghana Catholic Bishop Conference, Most Reverend Philip Naameh is pleading with Ghanaians to respect the rights of homosexuals as human beings even if they are not allowed to practice their sexual preference.
His call comes amid a revived debate over the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI) people to be allowed to practice their sexual preference legally and freely.
Several pressure groups in the country, particularly religious bodies, have been up in arms against the opening of an office by the LGBTQI group in Ghana recently, and have called for persons behind it to be arrested and prosecuted.
Indeed, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference issued a statement calling on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to close down the office immediately and to take a clear stand on the matter as the political head of the country.
Speaking in an exclusive interview on Kumasi-based Abusua FM, Bishop Naameh explained that although the Catholic Bishop Conference frowns on the sexual choices of LGBTQI persons in Ghana, that should not be the basis for homosexuals to be denied basic rights like accommodation, job opportunities and others things that all human beings benefit from.
“Ghanaians should have a clear distinction between the things of the people and the people themselves – the lesbian and gay people are human being so we need to respect them. We need to accord them those rights that all human beings enjoy. It is not because they are homosexuals that they should be refused employment, places to live and all that.
“There are things they also have rights to and we say that those rights should be given them but not those things which are against our culture and against God’s will,” he stated.
Bishop Naameh explained further that even if someone commits a crime, like murder, there should be a distinction between the actions of the person and the person as a human being.
According to him, someone may have an orientation to be a gay or lesbian but the person is not acting out the orientation, society should know that first of all, that person is a human being and has the right to all things that other human beings have the right to and those rights should be respected.
“We just don’t say that because he has homosexual tendencies whereas all human beings have a right to something, he should be denied it,” he reiterated.
The Ghana Catholic Bishop’s Conference (GCBC) earlier in a press statement demanded of government to shut down the recently commissioned office of LGBTQI in the country.
They issued the statement after the European Union (EU) in Ghana participated in the opening of an office space for LGBTQI+ Rights Ghana and called for equality, tolerance and respect for the group.