Catholic Bishops in Ghana Clarify Stance on Homosexuality after Cardinal’s Remarks

Members of the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference (GCBC). Credit: Catholic Trends

Catholic Bishops in Ghana have clarified their stance on homosexuality, and expressed their support for the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill that seeks to criminalize lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning, asexual, plus  acts in the West African nation (anti-LGBTIQ+ Bill).

In a statement issued Monday, December 11, members of the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference (GCBC) say that “Church makes a distinction between the homosexual as a person and the acts that he may carry out as a homosexual person.”

Homosexual acts, GCBC members say, are “intrinsically disordered and are in no case to be approved of. Thus, while the church does not condemn homosexuals for being homosexuals, it condemns the homosexual acts that they perform.”

“Thus, homosexuals should not be criminalized just for being homosexuals. Neither should they be maltreated nor attacked for being homosexuals. It is neither a sin nor a crime to be a homosexual. It is the acts that they perform that are sinful and should be condemned,” the Catholic Bishops in Ghana emphasize in an effort to make clear their stance on homosexuality in the country. 

The statement by GCBC members follows the November 27 BBC interview with Peter Kodwo Appiah Cardinal Turkson on Hard Talk program that provoked controversy. Cardinal Turkson said that his position has been “that LGBT, gay people may not be criminalized because they have committed no crime”.


In their five-page statement, Catholic Bishops in Ghana express their awareness of the silence on the part of the Ghanaian government to condemn homosexual acts in clear terms.

They say, “The Church recognizes that the State has a duty to carry out in this matter of homosexuality. With regard to homosexual acts, while the Church speaks of them as sins, the State does not use such language.”

“The draft bill on Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values 2021 currently in Parliament is in the right direction, as it seeks to enact laws against criminal homosexual acts,” Catholic Bishops in Ghana say. 

The bill, they explain, “aims to provide for proper human sexual rights and Ghanaian family values, proscribe LGBTQ+ and related activities, and provide for the protection of children, persons who are victims or accused of LGBTTQQIAAP+ and related activities, and other persons.”

The lawmakers “may decide that a man marrying a man or a woman marrying a woman is not in the interest of the nation since, in the long term, it will have an effect on the size of the population of our country if many people do this,” GCBC members say.

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“In such a case, the lawmakers will be within their rights to enact laws against that. In such cases, it will be right for the lawmakers to criminalize such homosexual actions by punitive measures,” they add.

The Catholic Bishops in Ghana continue, “While it is not right to criminalize homosexuals just for being homosexuals, the State is within its right to criminalize the acts of homosexuals in the interest of the nation.”

They go on to “commend our lawmakers for the effort and time spent on this bill. It is our hope that, when passed into law, it will indeed promote proper human sexual rights and authentic Ghanaian family values which are under threat from homosexual acts.” 

In the statement which GCBC President, Bishop Matthew Kwasi Gyamfi, signed, Catholic Bishops in Ghana express hope that the bill “will impose punitive measures that are commensurate with the crimes committed.”

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.