On Same Sex Marriage

The world is in a turmoil over the legalization of same sex marriage in the United States of America. It is, however, sardonic because the U.S. is about the 13th country to make that decision. Countries, including Germany, Ireland, Mozambique, and South Africa, among others, have already done that. But the judicial decision in the United States lending legal backing to the issue of gay unions in that country becomes even more poignant because of the status of the United States in the global power structure.
One of the arguments for same sex marriage is that marriage is not limited to males and females. Some homosexuals believe they marry for love, and divorce as straight people do. They argue also that the laws do not limit marriage to the opposite sexes so it is their right as it is for everyone to be given the legal right to marry and so it is logical for gays to be given the opportunity to marry.
The controversy generated by the issue of gay marriage is pegged on human rights and morality depending on where one stands. The practice of homosexuality is controversial as it is and to go further to legalize gay unions brings into focus the problems involved.
Those who oppose legalization of gay marriages on religious grounds believe it is an abominable practice, unnatural and sinful. The Episcopal Church in the United States, for instance, is a divided house because of homosexuality. Other such churches as the Presbyterian Church of United States also accept homosexuality but their stance on gay marriage is not clear. An essential element of marriage is for two different people from different gender backgrounds to appreciate each other and explore their differences and know about the human condition, they argue.
There are yet those who oppose homosexuality on cultural grounds because they perceive the practice as against their traditions and customs. Among Africans, for instance, homosexuality is unacceptable because it is morally wrong and unnatural and indeed condemnable. That does not mean that there are no gays on the continent. There are but they do not constitute a constituency worth courting or even nurturing. And they are not victimized as some would like the world to perceive. President Yoweri Museveni before signing into law an anti-gay law in Uganda claimed that he had scientists prove to him that it is unnatural and that no one is born homosexual.
We hope the United States and the West would not apply punitive sanctions against those in Africa and elsewhere who oppose their stance on the issue of gay marriage and homosexuality as they did with Museveni when he signed anti-gay law in Uganda last year. When British Prime Minister David Cameron insisted on Africans adopting the same liberal stance on homosexuality, he received a lesson in comparative cultures and he has since come to appreciate how others perceive those issues. Amandla appreciates the human rights aspects of the argument but recognizes the moral elements as well. Legal rights do not necessarily translate into moral right.

 

Violence at Talensi by-election

Talensi in the Upper East Region of Ghana experienced a bout of violence on Tuesday, July 07, 2015 as a by-election was going on. News filtering in from Talensi indicates that the two major political parties, NPP and NDC are to blame for the unfortunate incidence. In one incident, a deputy national chairman of the NPP, Freddy Blay and the party’s National Treasurer Abankwa Yeboah had to be rushed to hospital for treatment as a bunch youths from the opposition NDC pounced on them. Another NPP operative, Gabby Otchere Darko, publisher of the New Statesman also claims he was shot.
A similar scenario happened at Akwatia and Atiwa all in the Eastern Region and Chereponi in the Northern Region in 2009 where some people were injured from several weapons during a similar exercise of a by-election. The trend has always been that the injured are always people from the opposition NPP and the injuries have always been inflicted by the ruling NDC. Another disturbing occurrence is the attitude of security personnel sent to ensure peace at the elections. In all cases police personnel have been observed looking away from incidents of violence. With the advent of high technology videos and pictures taken of such unfolding events should go public to shame those who are supposed to protect citizens not to run away from them.
Violence at elections seems to have become a trend and a worrying one for that matter. Prior to any general election in Ghana, expectations of violence send those who can afford to flee out of the country. Others who cannot afford simply stay away from the proceedings for fear of losing limb and life. And this is in a country that prides itself of its democratic credentials.
Fleeing from exercising one’s democratic right of voting is being disenfranchised. One would pardon such citizens: after all, who wants to die for merely trying to cast a vote? Several appeals have gone to the political parties, especially the NPP and the ruling NDC but it does not seem to be making any impact. One major problem is that those who perpetrate such incidents are never caught and made to face the law. And so it has become a feature of elections in Ghana. Wherein lies the country’s hope for a future in democracy?
As long as politicians benefit from the violence, practical democracy in Ghana will remain a mere window dressing and a charade. As long the youth are left on the streets without jobs and education, there will continue to be idle hands for employment in violence, and as long as politicians, particularly those in power, continue to reap favorable results from violence, Ghana will never see peace during the auspicious moments of elections. We dare predict an escalation of such violence into a major national upheaval from which none, including those who finance and perpetrate it and innocent citizens alike will be spared.
If government and parliament are concerned and committed to peace in the country they must come up with laws to curtain the unfortunate development. It is the duty of government to ensure peace and prosperity for citizens but not just to ensure victory in elections. The opposition has the responsibility to ensure that government did the right thing and not just to wrestle power at all costs. If all parties recognize this simple principle election violence will be reduced and Ghana would be better for it.

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Posted by on Jul 13 2015. Filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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