As President Obama prepares to visit African countries in the upcoming months, LGBT Americans and organizations hope he can deliver a positive message of impact following the wave of anti-LGBT legislation.
June is now here. This brings the expected rule by the Supreme Court of the United States on the outcomes of DOMA and Prop. 8. If the decision is in favor of the LGBT community, this could push President Obama to bring a message of equality overseas. “If the timing works out so that he’s there, it may provide a perfect opportunity for him to speak out about the principles we value in our democracy and how we would hope that others follow it,” said Richard Socarides, who worked in the White House during the Clinton administration.
Nigeria passed the most recent legislative bill against the LGBT community. The "Jail All the Gays" bill passed through the senate in November of 2011, and has now passed through the House of Representatives. Included in this bill is a ban on same-sex marriages, any organizations which would endorse gay rights, and public displays of affection between LGBT couples.
Along with Nigeria, Tanzania and Senegal also have similar bills in place. Tanzanian government continues to put forth zero effort in confronting LGBT discrimination. There is also a 30 year-life sentence for anyone engaging in same-sex behaviors. Senegal holds similar laws in place.
This wouldn't be the first time President Obama would speak out to countries regarding discrimination. Prior to the passing of Nigeria's bill, President Obama spoke with the State Department to address the issue of human rights concerning LGBT individuals with the U.S. Diplomacy and foreign assistance.
Anti-violence and anti-discrimination would be the theme if President Obama decides to address these issues. His message would focus on the "big picture" concerning peace throughout nations. By using this approach to communicate a powerful message to these nations, hopefully it will result in a greater response from their end. While legislation for LGBT people living in these countries is not favorable at this moment, as time passes, people unite, and organizations advocate, hopefully change is in store for a brighter future.