Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta rejected US President Barack Obama's message on gay rights, emphasising that it is one thing his country does not share with the US.
Kenya's top leader stood his ground as Obama ended on Sunday his two-day visit in Kenya, his father's homeland, in which he asked Kenyan leaders to stop corruption, to treat women and minorities as equals, and to protect the rights of homosexuals, CBN News wrote.
"I've been consistent all across Africa on this," Obama said. "I believe in the principle of treating people equally under the law, and that they are deserving of equal protection under the law and that the state should not discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation."
However, Kenyatta held on to Kenya's values and did not accept Obama's rhetoric.
"The fact of the matter is that Kenya, the United States, we share so many values, but there are some things that we must admit we don't share—our culture, our society don't accept," Kenyatta said.
"This is why I repeatedly say that for Kenyans today, the issue of gay rights is really a non-issue," he continued. "We want to focus on other areas that are day-to-day living for our people."
Keeping homosexual relations is punishable by imprisonment of up to 14 years in Christian-dominated Kenya.
Many disapproved Obama's promotion of gay rights.
"Of course, the way President Obama talked about gays and what have you, lesbianism or transgender, whatever, according to him, you know, we took him as an American. He was answering like an American," said Nairobi resident Ibrahim Lincoln. "But according to our African cultures, the Christian beliefs—we say no."
Obama warned Kenyatta that freedoms start to "erode" when people who are different do not receive equal treatment, CNN wrote.
"When you start treating people differently not because of any harm they are doing to anybody, but because they are different, that's the path whereby freedoms begin to erode," Obama said at a joint press conference with Kenyatta in Nairobi. "And bad things happen."
Many Kenyan leaders urged Obama before his first visit to Kenya as US president to leave his advocacy for gay rights in the US.
Obama, however, equated legalised discrimination of homosexuals to legalised racism in America.
"And when a government gets in a habit of people treating people differently, those habits can spread," Obama said. "As an African-American, I am painfully aware of what happens when people are treated differently under the law."