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:

SenegalHomosexuality 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.


  1. ratbastard says


    Africa is a huge continent, and it’s far from overpopulated. What it is is under-developed.

    President Obama rarely mentions Africa and African issues. All the more interesting considering he’s half African descent. I don’t know what to make of that.

  2. sean says

    I hope he will, but I doubt it.

    Africa is stuck in the Stone Age and has so, so many problems, gay rights probably won’t be at the top of his list.

  3. says

    I 2nd Sean. Being of African descent myself and having visited my native country-Rwanda, for the first time last year, I got to experience 1st hand the poverty, the famine, the lack of health care, etc. Now Rwanda has decriminalized homosexuality since 2011, but society still discriminates against gay people, and there are no laws protecting them whatsoever. So most likely Mr Obama will address all other issues affecting African but i doubt he’ll touch on that issue. It’s just too taboo to talk about publicly, from a cultural perspective that is. So I expect him to know that and try and stay away from “schooling”, as they see it, these underdeveloped nations. Just sad all around.

  4. Tom Cardellino says

    If any one gay person might be mentioned to the people before whom he speaks, I’d hope Obama would mention Alan Turing, the genius “Father of Computers” and code-breaker of the Nazi Enigma machine, who so vastly helped rid the African continent of the Nazi threat of exploitation and slavery. He did this by his brilliant work to decipher the Nazi war machine’s secret codes spelling defeat of the colonial Axis powers of Germany and Italy and their eugenic view of African peoples.

  5. jay says


    When the population exceeds a Country’s resources, it is overpopulated. Most Africans lack access to resources and live in deploring conditions.

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