- Turkson opposes anti-LGBT laws
- Uganda faces global consequences
- Pope Francis considers inclusivity
The criminalization of homosexuality is unwarranted, and individuals should be assisted in gaining a greater understanding of the issue, according to a former Ghanaian cardinal.
The remarks of Cardinal Peter Turkson come as the legislature considers a measure that would impose severe penalties on LGBT individuals.
However, he further stated that the Church continued to hold the view that same-sex relationships were “objectively sinful” and would not sanction same-sex marriage.
Proposed Legislation and its Controversial Support
Ghanaian MPs supported a law that has yet to be finalised in July. The bill aimed to impose a three-year incarceration sentence for individuals who identified as LGBT. Additionally, LGBT rights activists could face up to ten years in prison.
Engaging in homosexual activity is already illegal and punishable by a three-year prison term.
The Catholic Herald reported that in an August statement issued in conjunction with other prominent Christian organizations in the nation, the bishops of Ghana also urged Western nations to “cease the ceaseless attempts to impose unacceptable foreign cultural values on us.”
Cardinal Turkson’s Legacy and Current Role
Cardinal Turkson, who has been linked with potential papal candidature on occasion, stated that “LGBT individuals may not be criminalised due to their lack of criminal activity.”
“It is necessary to initiate education to assist individuals in comprehending this phenomenon and reality. A substantial amount of education is required to convince individuals to differentiate between criminal activity and non-criminal behaviour,” he continued.
Regarding the expression “men who behave like women and women who behave like men” found in one of Ghana’s languages, Akan, the cardinal referred to this fact. Furthermore, he contended that this demonstrated that homosexuality was not an external imposition.
The existence of culturally significant expressions indicates they are familiar to Ghanaian society.
Challenges to LGBTQ+ Rights in Africa
However, Cardinal Turkson expressed his belief that the ongoing endeavors to enact stringent anti-gay legislation in multiple African nations were “attempts to link certain foreign donations and grants to particular positions… in the name of freedom and respect for rights.”
Furthermore, this stance should not be imposed upon cultures that are unprepared to embrace such ideas.
A law was passed by the parliament of Uganda in May that outlines the potential consequences of a homosexual conviction: life imprisonment and the death penalty in so-called aggravated cases (e.g., having gay sex with a person under the age of 18 or in which someone contracts a life-threatening illness such as HIV).
The measure resulted in the World Bank suspending new loans to Uganda in August. In October, President Joe Biden announced that the United States would withdraw from a preferential trading arrangement. This decision was made due to “egregious violations of internationally recognized human rights.”
Cardinal Turkson was appointed by Pope John Paul II in 2003, becoming the inaugural Ghanaian cardinal. Presently, he serves as the Pontifical Academies of Sciences chancellor.