Just one day after the US Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, and undercut Proposition 8, President Obama made calls for tolerance whilst on a visit to Senegal, which were strongly rejected by the country’s president.
The comments, however, were met with a cold reception, as the President of Senegal, despite saying he was not homophobic, said the country was “not ready to decriminalise homosexuality”.
“People should be treated equally”, Obama said at a press conference in Dakar, Senegal on Thursday. Sharing the stage was President Macky Sall, who said the country was not ready to do so.
President Sall said: “We are still not ready to decriminalize homosexuality,” he said. “I’ve already said it in the past. We’re still not ready to change the law. This does not mean that we are all homophobic.”
Obama arrived in Senegal on Wednesday, with his wife Michelle Obama, his daughters Sasha and Malia, and Marian Robinson, Michelle’s mother.
Both US Supreme Court rulings yesterday saw 5-4 Justices in favour of same sex couples. The first case saw the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) struck down. DOMA, passed in 1996, federally defined marriage as between one man and one woman only.
In the second case, around California’s Proposition 8, the Supreme Court ruled that such a ruling was not in its jurisdiction, nor was it in the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit Court, which previously ruled, therefore deferring the decision to a previous ruling by a district court which decided the ban was unconstitutional.