Obama walks tightrope on gay rights in Africa
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — The U.S. embassy in Ivory Coast made history earlier this month by hosting a gay pride reception attended by about two dozen openly gay Ivorians. Despite the groundbreaking nature of the event, reporters were barred from attending, and the only mention of it was a short blurb on the embassy website posted the following week.
The handling of the event encapsulates the Obama administration’s cautious promotion of gay rights in Africa, an issue that is likely to come up during the president’s visit this week to three African nations, two of which punish homosexuality with jail time. The U.S. has made it a priority to promote gay rights overseas, but officials are careful when they talk about it, citing concerns about igniting a backlash that could endanger local activists.