President Obama Boldly Calls For Kenya To End Anti-Gay Discrimination

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President Obama took a bold stance against Africa's legacy of anti-gay discrimination during a trip to his Kenyan homeland, The Guardian reports. The unprecedented statement in defense of same-sex civil rights happening during a bilateral meeting with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta who has vocally defended his country's criminalization of homosexuality.

That's right. Obama defended gay rights in a place where being gay is actually illegal. A bold move, indeed.

"When a government gets in the habit of treating people differently those habits can spread," Obama told the Kenyan crowd. "As an African-American in the United States I am painfully aware of what happens when people are treated differently under the law. I am unequivocal on this.”

Kenya is one of the 36 out of 54 African nations where same-sex relationships are illegal, and sodomy is considered a felony punishable by up to 14 years in prison. Even "attempting" to have same-sex relationships can land Kenyan men in prison for seven years. Kenyan gay rights activists have also reported being turned away from businesses if their LGBT support is publicly known.

Confronted with Obama's "unequivocal" statement to end such egregious discrimination on Saturday, Kenyan President Kenyatta brushed it off as a "not really an issue on the foremost mind of Kenyans."

But clearly it is something Kenyans feel strongly about. A Pew Research Center poll also found 90 percent of Kenyans thinks society shouldn't accept homosexuality, a mindset common throughout sub-Saharan Africa. In fact, Nigeria, Gambia and Uganda have all recently passed harsher anti-gay laws, lengthening prison sentences for those found out.

"[For] a law-abiding citizen who is going about their business, and working at a job and obeying the traffic signs and not harming anybody, the idea they will be treated differently or abused because of who they love is wrong, full stop,” Obama said.

We applaud the President for boldly supporting LGBT rights around the world despite risk of diplomatic fallout, full stop.
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