Sunday, December 15, 2013

Why Ghana Needs Full Marriage Equality

Ghana not only continues to deny people their fundamental right to marry, but adults continue to be arrested and prosecuted for having consensual sex with each other. Here's the latest example I found, this time a 
Two siblings have been remanded in Police custody for alleged incestuous relationship which produced an 18-year-old boy.

53-year-old Issifu Abubakari and 36-year-old Ramatu were arrested on Wednesday December 11, 2013 and charged with the offence.

With that age difference, it seems possible to me that they are half-siblings and it is possible that Issifu wasn't even around while Ramatu was growing up.

They are alleged to have been in a relationship for about 20 years.
That would make Ramatu 16 years old at the beginning. The age of consent in Ghana is 16.
Kumasi-based Nhyira FM's Ohemeng Tawiah reported that the couple relocated from Dawu, near Agona, to Koforidua after family members and other relatives raised suspicions about their relationship.
So they were already dealing with hostile family and having to move simply because they loved each other. Family should support, not hate.

After 20 years, relatives of the couple discovered that they had been living as husband and wife with an 18-year-old son in his first year in Senior High School.
Even though the brother and sister were summoned to the chief of their village, and made to perform some rites to 'cleanse' them, they continued to have sexual relationship, Ohemeng reported.
Well. yes, they are married except in law, and they obviously love each other. What is the sense in trying to break up a family? If they've been together for 20 years without a problem, why try to stop them? There is no good reason.

They do not mention any problem with their child, so my guess is that that child is healthy, because I'm fairly certain they would have included any significant problems experienced by him in the report. To American eyes, reading that he is 18 and in his first year at Senior High School seems strange, but it is entirely possible he wasn't started in school until later than most American students start.

So what exactly was the problem with their relationship? Other people didn't like the idea. So what? How ridiculous it is to waste resources trying to pry apart adult lovers, especially ones that apparently haven't caused any trouble for anybody. I can guarantee you there are other siblings in Ghana living as spouses, some with children together, just as there are (and always have been) all over the world. The sooner we recognize all adults should have relationship rights, including full marriage equality, the better.
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