ACCRA, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Ghana's former president and leading opposition presidential candidate John Dramani Mahama on Wednesday expressed his opposition to LGBTQ+ rights but did not say if he would support a bill aimed at criminalizing same-sex relations.
The main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress, voted last year to retain Mahama as its leader for the 2024 presidential election.
During a meeting with members of the clergy in eastern Ghana, the former president said gay marriage and being transgender were against his Christian beliefs.
"The faith I have will not allow me to accept a man marrying a man, and a woman marrying a woman," Mahama said while responding to a church leader's call against LGBTQ+ people.
"I don't believe that anybody can get up and say I feel like a man although I was born a woman and so I will change and become a man," he added.
Mahama, however, did not say whether he would sign the bill that would criminalize same-sex relations, being transgender and advocating LGBTQ rights, should he win December elections.
Lawmakers in the West African nation have been debating the Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values bill since August 2021.
Passing the bill would further reduce freedoms in a country where gay sex is already punishable with up to three years in jail, critics and activists say.
(Reporting by Maxwell Akalaare Adombila; Editing by Anait Miridzhanian and Angus MacSwan)