Defying Pastors, Obama Pushes Gay Agenda Into Kenya Talks

A Kenyan man makes a T-shirt of President Obama in preparation for his visit.
A Kenyan man makes a T-shirt of President Obama in preparation for his visit. (Reuters)

Despite requests from African leaders to leave his views on homosexuality at home, President Barack Obama says he plans to make gay rights part of his agenda during his trip to Africa.

Obama faced criticism and growing calls from LGBT groups to press the issue aggressively while in the region.

Meanwhile in a letter, a number of Kenyan politicians and religious leaders have warned the U.S. president that any overtures on gay rights would not be welcomed in Kenya.

"We do not want him to come and talk on homosexuality in Kenya or push us to accepting that which is against our faith and culture," said Mark Kariuki, the key architect of the letter.

Kariuki leads an alliance representing 38,000 churches and 10 million Kenyan Christians.

"Let him talk about development; let him talk about cooperation; let him talk about the long-time relationship Kenya has had with America. But about our beliefs and culture-- keep off!" he said.

Obama has used previous trips to Africa to urge governments to respect gay rights. Kariuki said the open letter is a warning to the president.

"The family is the strength of a nation. If the family is destroyed, then the nation is destroyed," Kariuki said. "So we don't want to open doors for our nation to be destroyed!"

Homosexuality is illegal in Kenya and 36 other African countries.

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