Obama in Kenya: Criticizes Gay Rights Record

US President Obama offers both praise and criticism to his Kenyan counterpart.

Matt Wanderman ,

Barack Obama
Barack Obama

US President Barack Obama spoke with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta today (Saturday), during a visit to Kenya.

President Obama landed in Kenya yesterday. This is his first visit to his father's home country since becoming president. Since arriving he has visited a memorial for the 1998 US embassy bombing and spoken at a business summit.

During today's meeting he said that the two countries are "united against terrorism" and praised Africa's economic potential, but acknowledged that the leaders have strongly opposing attitudes on homosexuality.

While the United States Supreme Court recently ruled that gay marriage must be legal throughout the country, homosexuality is still illegal in Kenya. Furthermore, polls have shown that up to 96 percent of Kenyans believe that homosexuality is unacceptable.

During a press conference in Kenya, Obama told a reporters, "If somebody is a law-abiding citizen, who is going about their business... and not harming anybody, the idea that they are going to be treated differently or abused because of who they love is wrong. Full stop."

Kenyatta responded that "some things that we must admit we don't share - our culture, our societies don't accept."

Obama later offered praise for President Kenyatta on the latter's fight against corruption, saying that people are "consistently sapped by corruption at a high level and at a low level" and emphasizing the need for "visible prosecutions,"