U.S. President Barack Obama says as an African-American he is painfully aware of how wrong it is to treat law-abiding people differently just because they are different in some way. So he supports LGBT rights in Kenya and all of Africa.
“I believe in the principle of treating people equally under the law and they are deserving of equal protection under the law and that the state should not discriminate against people base upon their sexual orientation.”
“And I say that recognizing that there are people who may have different religious or cultural beliefs, but the issue is how does the state operate relative to people.
“If you look at the history of countries around the world, when you start treating people differently, not because of any harm they’re doing anybody, but because they’re different, that’s the path whereby freedoms begin to erode and bad things happen.
“And when a government gets in the habit of treating people differently, those habits can spread.
“And 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.
“And there were all sorts of rationalizations provided by the power structure for decades in the United States for segregation and Jim Crow and slavery and they were wrong.
“So I’m unequivocal on this. 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 good citizens are supposed to do and not harming anybody, the idea that they are going to be treated differently or abused because who they love is wrong. Full stop.
“The state does not need to weigh in on religious doctrine. The state just has to say we’re going to treat everybody equally under the law. And then everybody else can have their own opinions.”
Kenya’s President says his country has priorities other than LGBT rights
President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya says his country differs with the U.S. on LGBT rights. He says there are other priorities and this is a non issue for now.
“The fact of the matter is that Kenya and the United States, we share so many values.”
“But there are some things we must admit we don’t share. Our culture, our societies don’t accept. It is very difficult for us to be able to impose on people that which they themselves do not accept.”
“For Kenayns 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.”
Kenyatta listed health care, women’s rights, infrastructure, education as more pressing issues.
“Maybe once, like you have, overcome some of these challenges we can begin to look at new ones. But as of now the fact remains that this issue is not really an issue that is on the foremost mind of Kenyans. And that is a fact.”
Obama is in Kenya for the first time since becoming president.