Barack Obama will make his first visit to Africa since becoming president when he and Michelle stop by Ghana in July to work on “strengthening the fraternal relations” with President John Evans Atta Mills. With Kenyan blood (and that whole “being black” thing), it’s understood Obama enjoys enormous popularity in the region. Not enjoying such high marks? Gays.
Not that we’re expecting the president to spend even a minute discussing it on his two-day trip.
Except gays in Ghana would love him to. That’s because Ghana’s criminal code makes it a crime to participate in “unnatural carnal knowledge”; sex between men is illegal. And that’s just the law. Then there’s the silencing.
In 2006, a LGBT rights conference slated to take place in the capital Accra was banned by officials; at the time Information Minister Kwamena Bartels pointed to the illegality of homosexuality as an excuse. Prohibiting the conference was, if local media reports were to be believed, just fine by the public.
There’s the arrest of a British photographer when airport officials found in his luggage photographs of him having sex. Gay students are reportedly removed from schools.
No surprise: International human rights groups calling for Ghana to improve protections for GLBTs.
But as Obama has made clear, he doesn’t even care about that in his own country, so he’s got no footing making any gay rights demands overseas. Not that he would even attempt it.