Kenya's deputy president, William Ruto, on Sunday said that gay people are not welcome in the east African nation.

“We will not allow homosexuality in our society as it violates our religious and cultural beliefs,” Ruto said during a church service at the Jesus Winner Ministry Church in Nairobi.

“We will stand with religious leaders to defend our faith and our beliefs,” he said. “There's no room for homosexuality in this country. That one I can assure you.”

Ruto's comments, which were greeted with cheers, came on the day Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in the nation for talks.

A spokesman confirmed Ruto's remarks, telling Reuters: “The government believes that homosexual relations are unnatural and un-African.”

Kenya is among the 36 out of 54 African nations where gay sex is illegal. According to the AFP, an effort to increase the penalties in Kenya is underway.

Binyavanga Wainaina, a recently out Kenyan writer, criticized Ruto's comments.

“Our Deputy President Ruto is building himself to be the most dangerous man in Africa,” Wainaina said on Twitter. “If his strategy works much will burn.”