Jay-Z says he STRONGLY believes gay people deserve the right to get married ... claiming discriminating against a gay person is the same as discriminating against a black person.
Jay -- arguably the most powerful person in hip hop -- discussed the issue with CNN ... saying President Obama's decision to come out in support of gay marriage was "the right thing to do."
“I’ve always thought it as something that was still holding the country back. What people do in their own homes is their business and you can choose to love whoever you love."
He continued, "That’s their business. It's no different than discriminating against blacks. It’s discrimination plain and simple.”