The world is watching as President Barack Obama returns to his ancestral home of Kenya on a tour of African nations. The president has promised to address many issues on the African continent but one issue in particular has drawn controversy and a rebuke from Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. That issue is gay rights in Kenya and other parts of Africa. “I’ve been consistent all across Africa on this. I believe in the principle of treating people equally under the law. The state should not discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation.” said President Obama.
President Obama stated in a speech at a joint press conference with the Kenyan president that in regards to discrimination of the LGBT community in Kenya, “As an African-American in the United States, I am painfully aware of the history of what happens when people are treated differently under the law …I’m unequivocal on this. I’ve been consistent all across Africa on this. I believe in the principle of treating people equally under the law. The state should not discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation.”
However, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta stated that homosexuality in Kenya is something “Our culture, our society does not accept” and said in response “For Kenyans today, the issue of gay rights is really a non-issue. We want to focus on other areas that are day-to-day living for our people…This issue is not really an issue that is on the foremost of mind for Kenyans, and that is a fact.”
Kenyatta’s comments are similar to those of many African leaders who are opposed to homosexuality based on religious and cultural reasons.