By Gudrun Schultz

ACCRA, Ghana, September 5, 2006 ( – The government of Ghana banned a homosexual conference scheduled to take place yesterday, saying it would undermine the country’s culture and morality and encourage the practice of homosexuality, the Mail & Guardian reported Saturday.

“Ghanaians are unique people whose culture, morality and heritage totally abhor homosexual and lesbian practices and indeed any other form of unnatural sexual acts,” said a statement by Information Minister Kwamena Bartels. “Supporting such a conference or even allowing it will be encouraging that tendency which the law forbids.”

The practice of homosexuality is illegal in Ghana. The gay and lesbian community had operated underground to organize the conference, the Mail & Guardian reported, apparently without the knowledge or permission of the government.

“It is not illegal for them to meet and talk, but we in Ghana don’t want to encourage it. They can go and do it elsewhere,” Bartels said.

With files from Reuters.

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