The same day that protesters in Nairobi warned President Obama not to bring up the issue of LGBT rights during his visit to Kenya later this month, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Obama would not be deterred in his push for equality.
"We do not want Obama and Obama, we do not want Michelle and Michelle," protesters chanted Monday in the Kenyan capital, reports Agence France-Presse. "We want Obama and Michelle and we want a child!" The approximately 100 evangelical Christian antigay activists are anticipating the president will encourage Kenya to embrace its LGBT citizens. But the homophobic group in Nairobi, many wearing shirts and carrying signs saying "Protect the Family," warned the president not to push what they consider a dangerous agenda.
"It is important for us as Kenyans to know that the U.S. is not God, and thus we cannot follow them blindly," Bishop Mark Kariuki, a protest organizer and evangelical Christian clergy member, told AFP.
The evangelicals are empowered by their president, William Ruto, who's currently on trial at the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity — the day before tothe rally, Ruto railed against gays during a church service.
Meanwhile, in Washington, Earnest was asked by a reporter if the president was forbidden to discuss LGBT rights during his trip to Kenya. Earnest's response:
"I had not been made aware of that particular announcement from Kenya. Obviously, we have been clear that when the president travels around the world, he does not hesitate to raise concerns about human rights. And that's been true when he’s traveled to places like China; it will be true tomorrow when he meets with the General Secretary of Vietnam. And I’m confident that the president will not hesitate to make clear that the protection of basic universal human rights in Kenya is also a priority and consistent with the values that we hold dear here in the United States of America."
When pressed again as to whether a visit by the president is predicated on him not discussing certain subjects, Earnest said, "Absolutely not. Absolutely not."