Rapper Jay-Z has backed US President Barack Obama’s announcement last week that he supported equal marriage rights between gay and straight couples.

Mr Obama said last week that “at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.”

Jay-Z, whose hits include Empire State of Mind and 99 Problems, told CNN: “I’ve always thought it as something that is holding the country back. What people do in their own homes is their own business, who they choose to love is their own business.

“It’s no different between discriminating against blacks. It’s discrimination.”

Asked whether it would affect the president’s chances for re-election, he said: “I think it is the right thing to do, so whether it costs him votes or not, it’s about people. It’s the right thing to do as a human being.”