There are more battles to fight, but there has been no better time to be gay in America. President Obama announced his support for repealing the Defense of Marriage Act last Wednesday. The 60-day clock on the full repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” started on Friday. And yesterday, the first same-sex weddings took place in New York now that marriage equality is the law of the land in the Empire State.
As a Third Way report released Friday points out, there’s been a “seismic shift” in this nation’s attitude towards gay men and lesbians and their relationships. What is happening here must not be taken for granted. Civil rights are hard-fought rights. Sure, the journey in the United States is incomplete. But it is light years ahead of others.
I’m highlighting all this because of what’s happening in Ghana.
According to the African edition of The Independent newspaper based in London, on a radio show earlier this week, a Ghanaian government minister called for gay men and lesbians to be rounded up.
“All efforts are being made to get rid of these people in society.” He called for the Bureau of National Investigations to round up gays and called on landlords and tenants to inform on people they suspect of being homosexual. “Once they have been arrested, they will be brought before the law,” he is reported to have said.
Paul Evans Aidoo, the minister for the Western Region of Ghana, said this. What is worse, his spine-tingling assertion has gained support. “Homosexuality is abhorrent,” the general secretary of one of Ghana’s political parties told a radio station last week. “Media discourse across the world is being dictated by the vulgar opinions of homosexuals. Ghana and probably Africa cannot sustain the menace of homosexuals.”
This is on top of other anti-gay lunacy on the African continent, including Uganda. That nation was attempting to make being gay a crime punishable by death. Last we heard, the death penalty piece of the proposed bill was dropped. The measure itself is not dead yet.
So while we call on our president to “evolve already” and roll our eyes at the quackery of “reparative therapy,” let’s remember that our collective evolution on issues of homosexuality is moving in the right direction. Not as fast as many would like, but moving inexorably towards equality and justice.