President Barak Obama has spoken in favour of LGBT rights during a trip to Kenya – the first visit of a serving U.S. President to the African country.
Speaking with Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta, in Nairobi on Saturday at a joint press conference, Obama made his views on equality clear, saying that the idea that a “law-abiding citizen” could be treated differently under the law was not right.
Being gay in Kenya is illegal, as it is in 35 other African countries.
The president said: “I believe in the principle of treating people equally under the law, and that they are deserving of equal protection under the law and that the state should not discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation,”.
“I’m unequivocal on this,” he continued. “If somebody is a law-abiding citizen who is going about their business and working in a job and obeying the traffic signs and doing all the other things that all citizens are supposed to do, and not harming anybody, the idea that they are gonna be treated differently or abused because of who they love is wrong, full stop.”
The Kenyan President retorted that Obama’s views were not shared, saying: “There are some things that we must admit we don’t share. Our culture, our societies don’t accept. So it’s very difficult for us to be able to impose that which they themselves do not accept. This is why I repeatedly say that 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.”