Will Obama Speak Out About Gay Rights in Africa?
President Obama is visiting Africa next month. The AP wonders if anti-gay human rights abuses on the continent and/or the SCOTUS marriage cases will play any role in his dialogue with the countries he will visit:
Homosexuality is considered a criminal offense in many African nations, including Senegal and Tanzania, two of the countries Obama will visit. South Africa, the third country on the president's itinerary, has broad protections for homosexuals and is the only African country to legalize gay marriage.
"If the timing works out so that he's there, it may provide a perfect opportunity for him to speak out about the principles we value in our democracy and how we would hope that others follow it," said Socarides, who worked in the White House during the Clinton administration.
Two of the countries Obama will visit outlaw homosexuality:
According to the State Department's 2012 human rights report on Tanzania, consensual same-sex sexual conduct is illegal and carries a prison sentence of 30 years to life. The report also concluded that gays and lesbians face "societal discrimination that restricted their access to health care, housing and employment" and that there were no government efforts to combat such discrimination.
Conditions are similar in Senegal, according to the State Department. The agency's 2012 human rights report on the West African nation says consensual same-sex activity, referred to in the law as an "act against nature," is a criminal offense.
And, Nigeria, as you may know, yesterday passed a law that would jail gays for up to 14 years for a variety of offenses.