But on Tuesday, he went even further, saying he would reject any diplomatic ties or approaches of “friendship” from countries that tried to influence his stance on the issue.
“We will therefore not accept any friendship, aid or any other gesture that is conditional on accepting homosexuals or LGBT as they are now baptised by the powers that promote them,” he said.
“As far as I am concerned, LGBT can only stand for leprosy, gonorrhoea, bacteria and tuberculosis; all of which are detrimental to human existence.”
We will fight these vermins called homosexuals or gays the same way we are fighting malaria-causing mosquitoesPresident Yahya Jammeh
The Gambian president, who seized power in a 1994 coup, is known for his hyperbolic comments – he has previously claimed he could cure AIDs – and drew strong international criticism after he executed a number of prisoners in 2012.
However his speech on Tuesday to mark the 49th anniversary of Gambia’s independence from Britain, is riding the wave of a renewed crackdown on same-sex relationships in Africa, where it is illegal to be gay in 37 countries.
In recent months, Nigeria has outlawed all same-sex relationships while Uganda has voted for life imprisonment for some homosexual acts.
Also on Tuesday, the Ugandan leader dismissed calls from US President Barack Obama not to sign an anti-homosexuality law, claiming that the US was using blackmail. Washington is a major aid donor to the east African country, sending more than $400m a year, and a US official said that relations would be reviewed if the anti-gay law was passed.