Obama Promotes Gay Rights… In Africa?

Obama in Senegal

After two historic wins for same-sex marriage in America, Obama has checked the U.S off his list and moved on to gay rights in Africa. Spoiler alert: it’s going to be a tough sell.

Currently in Senegal, President Obama praised the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, calling it a “victory for American democracy and a proud day for equal rights“. Obama also expressed support for the recognition of same-sex unions across state lines. Gay rights for all!

“It’s my personal belief, but I’m speaking now as a president not as a lawyer, that if you marry someone in Massachusetts and you move somewhere else, you’re still married,” Obama told reporters at a news conference in Senegal, “We’re going to be evaluating all these issues.”

Obama also said he believes these rights should be universal and urged African nations to give gay people equal rights by decriminalising homosexual acts. 

President Macky Sall of Senegal, who was standing next to Obama, didn’t love that comment and gave a quick retort.

“We are still not ready to decriminalize homosexuality,” Sall said, but insisted that the country is “very tolerant” and needs more time to digest the issue. “This does not mean we are homophobic.”

Actually, that’s exactly what is means.

Under Senegalese law, “an improper or unnatural act with a person of the same sex” can be punished by up to five years in prison. In fact, 38 African countries criminalize homosexuality. In four of those — Mauritania, northern Nigeria, southern Somalia and Sudan — the punishment is death.

Gay Rights in Africa

Gay rights aside, Obama went on to praise Senegal as a success story on an otherwise unsuccessful continent.

Senegal is one of the most stable democracies in Africa and one of the strongest partners that we have in the region,” Obama said. “It’s moving in the right direction with reforms to deepen democratic institutions and as more Africans across this continent stand up and demand governments that are accountable and serve the people, I believe Senegal can be a great example.”

They just need to work on that whole “homophobia” thing.

Via: The New York Times

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