As US President Barack Obama prepares to visit Kenya, the country of his estranged father’s birth, Kenyans are lining up to tell him: don’t come if you’re going to lecture us on gay marriage as we are still a God fearing nation.
Kenyan church groups have marched through Nairobi ahead of President Obama’s visit to the country next month, to insist that he not be allowed to promote gay marriage while on his visit. The protest came a day after Kenyan Parliamentarians declared that Obama would be thrown out of their Parliamentary building if he dared broach the subject.
Protestors chanted “We do not want Obama and Obama; we do not want Michelle and Michelle. We want Obama and Michelle and we want a child.” as they marched through Kenya’s capital city, the Times has reported.
Homosexuality is still illegal in the African country, punishable by up to seven years in jail. In sharp contrast, the US’s Supreme Court recently ruled to legalise gay marriage across all fifty US states. Consequently, discussion around gay marriage has dominated the agenda as Kenya prepares to welcome President Obama later this month.
The protesters also condemned a recent decision by Kenya’s Supreme Court to allow registration of gay rights organisations. They presented a petition to Chief Justice Willy Mutunga protesting the judgment, saying “Gay practice is against our Constitution.”
The protest comes the day after a number of local and national lawmakers addressed a church fundraiser in central Kenya, vowing to stand firm against any calls for gay marriage that President Obama may make.
According to the Daily Nation, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi told the crowd: “Liberal thoughts are being entertained in some countries under the guise of human rights. We must be vigilant and guard against it (gay marriages). We must lead an upright society and not allow obnoxious behaviour as we have a responsibility to protect our children.”
He said that he had previously chastised a group of British MPs who wanted to raise the issue. But he said that his views were personal and not those of the National Assembly (Kenya’s lower legislative house), adding that he would not block any motion in the National Assembly seeking to introduce legislation legalising gay unions.
His colleague Cecily Mbarire MP told the audience that the government would refuse any aid that was tied to same sex legislation, saying: “The Constitution is against same-sex marriage and nothing should change (when Obama comes). We are ready to decline any foreign aid if it is tied to gay marriages.”
And National Assembly member Charles Njagagua MP vowed to have Mr Obama ejected from the House if he lectured MPs on gay marriage.
The group praised Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto, who on Sunday told another church meeting: “Homosexuality is against the plan of God, God did not create man and woman so that men would marry men and women marry women.”
He urged both Kenya’s Christian and Muslim communities to stand up for their faiths and values, and to resist attempts to legalise gay marriage in the country, saying: “We have heard that in the US they have allowed gay relations and other dirty things. I want to say as a Christian leader that we will defend our country Kenya, we will stand for our faith and our country.
“No amount of persuasions, theories or philosophy will make us change our position. We believe in God, this is a God fearing nation and will continue to be so.”