Ghana anti-LGBT bill hearing postponed over ‘intemperate language’

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Lawyers battling over the legality of one of Africa’s harshest anti-LGBT bills have been told to amend motions they’ve submitted due to insulting language.

Ghana’s Supreme Court postponed Wednesday’s first hearing on challenges to the bill brought by two lawyers.

In February, parliament unanimously passed the legislation. It would intensify a crackdown on LGBT rights in Ghana, where gay sex is already punishable by up the three years in prison.

However, President Nana Akufo-Addo has delayed signing the bill into law with his office citing pending challenges at the Supreme Court.

The bill’s supporters have been pushing for it to be ratified.

“Parliament has passed it. So for me, constitutionally, what is left for parliament to do is to transmit it to the presidency. Anything to attempt to frustrate the performance of such constitutional duty, for me, is unconstitutional,” said Andy Appiah Kubi, a Ghanaian lawmaker.

Amanda Odoi and Richard Sky, both lawyers, have filed separate challenges to the bill. They’re seeking to declare it illegal and prevent the president from signing it.

Rights groups have warned that the new law could lead to further violence against LGBT people who already suffer different forms of discrimination.

The finance ministry has warned that $3.8 billion in World Bank financing and a $3 billion International Monetary Fund loan program could be derailed.

On Wednesday, the plaintiffs and lawyers for the speaker of the parliament were told to remove “inappropriate, intemperate language” from their motions in order to be courteous.