Obama: Our ‘First gay president’

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RAYNARD JACKSON

 

(NNPA)—President Obama has concluded his three-country tour of Africa. He visited Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania. Most presidential trips overseas have a pre-determined outcome: to sign an agreement, to promote a foreign policy objective, or to reward an ally, etc. Not so in this instance.

Obama seems to be living up to the title Newsweek magazine gave him last year, “First Gay President.” I am usually very measured when I write about our presidents out of respect for the office. But, I must confess, that President Obama was a total embarrassment on his trip to Africa.

Obama and his staff were told in no uncertain terms not to discuss homosexual entitlements when in Africa (these messages were communicated through diplomatic back channels). But, that’s exactly what Obama did. During his first stop to Senegal, Obama began to lecture President Macky Sall on homosexual entitlements during their joint press conference.

Obama referenced the recent U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on homosexuality, “not simply a victory for the LGBT community but also a victory for American democracy…so my basic view is that regardless of race, regardless of religion, regardless of gender, regardless of sexual orientation, when it comes to how the law treats you, how the state treats you—the benefits, the rights and the responsibilities under the law—people should be treated equally. And that’s a principle that I think applies universally, and the good news is it’s an easy principle to remember.”

To President Sall’s credit, he provided a sharp retort: “Senegal, as far as it is concerned, is a very tolerant country which does not discriminate in terms of inalienable rights of the human being. We don’t tell anybody that he will not be recruited because he is gay or he will not access a job because his sexual orientation is different. But we are still not ready to decriminalize homosexuality. I’ve already said it in the past, in our cabinet meeting it is Senegal’s option, at least for the time being, while we have respect for the rights of homosexuals—but for the time being, we are still not ready to change the law.

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