Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Gay rights clash: Obama, African host are at odds

A grim landmark of the slave trade President Barack Obama looks across the Atlantic Ocean as he stands in a stone doorway at Gorée Island in Senegal, a symbolically important landmark that serves as a reminder of ships bound for America bearing African slaves in shackles. America’s first black president spent about a half-hour inside the slave house on the edge of the water, walking quietly with his wife, Michelle Obama, a descendant of slaves, by his side. Afterward, Obama was stoic, describing the visit only as a “very powerful moment” that helped him to “fully appreciate the magnitude of the slave trade,” which for so long defined the history of black people in the United States. — New York Times

Associated Press

A grim landmark of the slave trade President Barack Obama looks across the Atlantic Ocean as he stands in a stone doorway at Gorée Island in Senegal, a symbolically important landmark that serves as a reminder of ships bound for America bearing African slaves in shackles. America’s first black president spent about a half-hour inside the slave house on the edge of the water, walking quietly with his wife, Michelle Obama, a descendant of slaves, by his side. Afterward, Obama was stoic, describing the visit only as a “very powerful moment” that helped him to “fully appreciate the magnitude of the slave trade,” which for so long defined the history of black people in the United States. — New York Times

DAKAR, Senegal — Laying bare a clash of cultures, President Barack Obama on Thursday urged African leaders to extend equal rights to gays and lesbians but was bluntly rebuked by Senegal's president, who said his country "still isn't ready" to decriminalize homosexuality.

Obama opened his weeklong trip to Africa one day after the U.S. Supreme Court expanded federal benefits for married gay couples. In his first in-person comments on the ruling, Obama said the court's decision marked a "proud day for America." He pressed for similar recognition for gays in Africa, wading into a sensitive area in a region where dozens of countries outlaw homosexuality and a few punish violations with death.

"When it comes to how the state treats people, how the law treats people, I believe that everybody has to be treated equally," Obama said during a news conference with Senegalese President Macky Sall at the grand presidential palace in Dakar.

But Sall gave no ground. Senegal is "very tolerant," he assured Obama, but is "still not ready to decriminalize homosexuality." Sall said countries make decisions on complex issues in their own time, noting that Senegal has outlawed capital punishment while other countries have not — a pointed jab at the U.S.

Obama's trip, which also includes stops in South Africa and Tanzania, marks the most extensive visit to Africa by the first black U.S. president since he took office. Many Africans have expressed disappointment over Obama's lack of direct engagement with affairs on their continent — particularly given that his father was Kenyan and he has many relatives living in Africa — yet he was enthusiastically welcomed.

Thousands of people gathered on the roadways near the presidential palace as Obama's motorcade sped through the coastal city, many in the crowds wearing white to symbolize peace. Some waved homemade signs welcoming Obama, while those gathered near the palace entrance sang and played drums, the rhythmic beats audible from inside the gates.

Looming over the festive atmosphere were concerns over former South African leader Nelson Mandela. Obama is due to arrive in South Africa today, though Mandela's fragile condition adds some uncertainty to the agenda.

Obama spoke reverently about the impact that Mandela's struggle against apartheid had on his own activism, as well as about the 94-year-old's influence in Africa and around the world.

"If and when he passes from this place, one thing I think we'll all know is that his legacy is one that will linger on throughout the ages," Obama said.

President Barack Obama looked across the Atlantic Ocean as he stood in a stone doorway at Gorée Island, a symbolically important landmark that serves as a reminder of ships bound for America bearing African slaves in shackles. America's first black president spent about a half-hour inside the slave house on the edge of the water, walking quietly with his wife, Michelle Obama, a descendant of slaves, by his side. Afterward, Obama was stoic, describing the visit only as a "very powerful moment" that helped him to "fully appreciate the magnitude of the slave trade," which for so long defined the history of black people in the United States.

New York Times

Gay rights clash: Obama, African host are at odds 06/27/13 [Last modified: Thursday, June 27, 2013 10:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. UPS relocates express operations from St. Pete-Clearwater to TIA

    Airlines

    TAMPA — United Parcel Service Inc. is switching airports for its express air operations. Beginning in October, UPS will relocate from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport.

    Beginning in October, UPS will move from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport. [Associated Press file photo]

  2. St. Petersburg man shot in arm during home invasion robbery

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — One man was arrested on charges he shot another man in the arm while attempting to rob a home in what St. Petersburg police are calling a drug-related incident.

    John Alam, 25, faces charges of home invasion robbery, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and possession of a firearm by a felon after deputies said he tried to rob a home Wednesday morning and ended up shooting someone. [Courtesy of Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Bob Buckhorn, a mayor who knows what he wants, surveys constituents on what they want

    Local

    TAMPA — Focus has not been a problem — or really, even a question — during the six-plus years that Mayor Bob Buckhorn has been in office.

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn keeps a digital countdown clock in his office showing the days, hours. minutes and seconds until he is term-limited out of office on April 1, 2019. As of Wednesday, he had 584 days to go. [City of Tampa]
  4. WATCH: Heroic Hooters manager helps two sheriff's deputies subdue unruly customer

    Crime

    BRANDON — The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office praised a heroic Hooters Restaurant manager Wednesday for coming to the aid of two deputies struggling to subdue an unruly customer.

    It took two deputies and a Hooter's manager to get control of Ashton B. Toney after he threatened to kill an employee who refused to serve him alcohol at a Hooter's in Brandon, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office reported.
[Booking photo from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]