- The Washington Times - Friday, April 22, 2016

President Obama on Friday assured Londoners that residents of North Carolina and Mississippi are not bad people, despite laws in the states he said are discriminatory toward gay people.

“I want everybody here in the United Kingdom to know that the people of North Carolina and Mississippi are wonderful people, they are hospitable people, they are beautiful states and you are welcome, and you should come and enjoy yourself, and I think you’ll be treated with extraordinary hospitality,” Mr. Obama said on day one of his three-day visit to the U.K. “I also think that the laws that have been passed there are wrong and should be overturned.”

The president chalked up the laws to “strong emotions that are generated by people, some of whom are good people but I just disagree with when it comes to respecting the equal rights of all people, regardless of sexual orientation, whether they’re transgender or gay or lesbian.”

“And although I respect their different viewpoints, I think it’s very important for us not to send signals that anybody is treated differently,” he said.

The U.K. Foreign Office earlier this week issued a travel warning for gay people who may be visiting the states.

North Carolina last month enacted a law that prohibits people from using the public facilities of the opposite sex. Gay rights activists have blasted the law as discriminatory toward transgender people, who wish to use the facilities that correspond with their gender identity.

Mississippi earlier this month enacted a measure prohibiting government discrimination against those who subscribe to a traditional view of marriage. The law prevents the government from punishing religious people and organizations because of their belief that marriage is the union between one man and one woman.

North Carolina senate leader Phil Berger, a Republican, said Mr. Obama’s comments were out of touch, reflecting a disconnect with average families concerned about the safety of their children.

“Not every father has the luxury of Secret Service agents protecting his daughters’ right to privacy in the girls’ bathroom,” Mr. Berger said in a statement Friday.

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