But… but… but… celebrate diversity!
DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — President Barack Obama on Thursday praised the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage as a “victory for American democracy” but clashed with his African host over gay rights in a sign of how far the movement has to go internationally.
Obama said recognition of gay unions in the United States should cross state lines and that equal rights should be recognized universally. It was his first chance to expand on his thoughts about the ruling, which was issued Wednesday as he flew to Senegal, one of many African countries that outlaw homosexuality.
Senegalese President Macky Sall rebuffed Obama’s call for Africans to give gays equal rights under the law.
“We are still not ready to decriminalize homosexuality,” Sall said, while insisting that the country is “very tolerant” and needs more time to digest the issue without pressure. “This does not mean we are homophobic.”
Obama said gay rights didn’t come up in their private meeting at the presidential palace, a mansion that looks somewhat similar to the White House. But Obama said he wants to send a message to Africans that while he respects differing personal and religious views on the matter, it’s important to have nondiscrimination under the law.
“People should be treated equally, and that’s a principle that I think applies universally,” he said.