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Fact-checking Sam George’s claim of criminalisation of LGBT in parts of America and limited legislative support for LGBT in Europe 

On Sunday 15th May 2022 Ghanaian lawmaker, Sam George, was a guest on Citi TV‘s Upside Down show. The Ningo Prampram MP is among eight other lawmakers who are pushing for the criminalization of LGBT+ activities in Ghana.

Whilst speaking about his anti-LGBT+ advocacy, Sam George argued that the subject of homosexuality has not “even been settled” in America and in Europe and wondered why anyone should shove it under the throats of Africans and Ghanaians in particular.

He went on to make some claims about the LGBT+ activities in US and Europe and the laws in those places that regulate such activities. Some of these claims have been brought to the attention of DUBAWA to be fact-checked.

The claims are in a short clip that has been posted on Twitter.

The full interview was streamed on Facebook and the claim can be found in minutes 26:53 – 27:50

Claim 1: “There are 50 States in America. Only 23 have laws that promote LGBT. [The remaining] 27 have laws that criminalize or fight or restrict the rights of this practice of homosexuality.” 

The US Supreme Court which is the highest court of the land in 2003 legalized activities of homosexuals. The ruling is binding on all 50 states.

Verification

Following a June 2003 ruling by the US Supreme Court, practice of homosexuality became legal in the United States of America.

In June 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is legal across the US. If the court acknowledges marriage between same-sex couples, obviously, it only implies that homosexual activities are deemed legal in America.

Laws that promote LGBT activities in the US vary from State to State. For instance, whereas New Mexico has a State law that explicitly prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, Texas State does not

Unless there are particular metrics that are being looked at, such as Conversion Therapy and Discrimination, it will be difficult to be specific as to the number of states that promote LGBT+ activities, considering that the practice and the acceptance of gay marriage are legal across the US.

In California, which is deemed one of the most liberal and progressive, there is a rule against blood donation by gay people.

The US LGBT+ Travel Index 2022 ranks Alaska as the worst state for gay travelers. Despite this status, serving openly in the military is allowed as it is in California and several other states.

Claim 2: “Even in the 23 [that promote LGBT], 6 of them have recently passed laws that limit the freedoms that have previously been given to them.”

A number of laws have been passed in a number of states in the US restricting activities of the LGBT+, especially in schools.

Florida has enacted a law that, among other provisions, censors discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in the classroom — a type of policy often called “Don’t Say Gay or Trans.” 

Alabama Governor has also signed into law two bills that ban transgender health care for minors and teaching about gender identity and sexual orientation in kindergarten through fifth grade.

About 20 other States are said to have introduced bills that would censor LGBTQ-related curricula, materials, student groups, and more.

Alabama has also voted to ban gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth.

Some states have also passed bills that ban transgender youth participation in sports. These are Iowa, Oklahoma, and Arizona.

Indiana Governor has also vetoed a bill banning transgender females from participating in girls’ school sports. 

South Dakota Governor has also signed an anti-transgender sports bill into law, thus restricting transgender women and girls from playing on school sports teams that match their gender identity in public schools and post-secondary institutions.

Those are some seven states in the U.S. that have recently passed laws that limit the rights of LGBT.

American Television Channel, MSNBC hints that 2022 could be the most anti-trans legislative year in the US.

Claim 3: “When you go to Europe, only 17 have legislation that supports LGBT.”

Completely False! Data show that 29 of the countries in Europe have legislations that support either gay marriages or some form of same sex unions and the remaining 22 countries have legislations that support LGBTQ activities even though they do not support same sex marriages.

The European Union considers equal treatment as a fundamental right. In view of that, it has taken several measures to combat discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

According to the EU, “since 1999 it has had the power to act in cases of discrimination based on sexual orientation and has since adopted legislation and taken measures to extend legal and social protection for LGBT people.”

In 2021, a BBC publication listed 30 countries where homosexuality was deemed illegal. There were no European countries on the list.

Even though same-sex relations are legal across Europe because of EU conventions and treaties, not all European countries have legislation that fully supports LGBT+ activities.

For instance, even though homosexuality is legal in Turkey, the country does not recognize same-sex marriages, LGBT+ and persons cannot serve in the military, among other limitations.

ILGA-Europe, an umbrella body of LGBT+ advocacy organisation in Europe, reports that there are gross violations of human rights for LGBT+ people in countries such as Russia, Armenia, Turkey, and Azerbaijan.

A 2019 data from Pew Research Centre indicates that 18 European countries have passed legislation to accept gay marriage. 

These include; Austria, Belgium, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Portugal, Scotland, Spain, and Sweden.

The data suggests that a further 11 allows for some form of same-sex unions/civil partnerships but not marriage.

However, in some 22 others, same-sex union of any kind is not legal, according to the Research Centre. Even though these 22 countries do not support same-sex unions, all of them including the Vatican City do have legislations that support LGBTQ activities. For instance in Albania, gay activities are legal except for gay marriage. In Bulgaria too, LGBTQ activities are legal. The same thing goes for Russia and Serbia

Conclusion

Sam George’s claim that 23 states in the US have laws that promote LGBT whereas 27 states do not  is misleading as each of the 50 States has at least a rule that limits or restricts the rights of homosexuals – Blood donations by Men Sleeping with Men (MSMs).

Again, it is not true that homosexuality is illegal or has been criminalized in some parts of the US. 

Also, his claim that only 17 countries in Europe have legislations that support LGBT activities is also false. 

However, the MP’s claim that some six states in the US have recently passed laws that limit the freedoms of LGBT persons is true.

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