Luxembourg Appoints Openly Gay Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister
November 15, 2013 by Guest contributor
Post submitted by Karim, HRC Global Engagement Intern
Luxembourg will soon become the first country to have both an openly gay Prime Minister and an openly gay Deputy Prime Minister. Xavier Bettel, the current mayor of Luxembourg City,was recently designated to become the nation’s Prime Minister by the Grand Duke Henri, Luxembourg’s head of state. Bettel is openly gay and will be sharing the Prime Minister’s official residence with his partner, Destenay Gauthier. This position will make Bettel the world’s third openly LGBT national leader.
Earlier this week, Bettel announced that Etienne Schneider, the openly gay leader of Luxembourg’s Socialist Workers’ Party (LSDP), will be his Deputy Prime Minister.
According to an interview conducted by Buzzfeed, Bettel claimed that he never had to hide his sexuality. Although he sympathizes with politicians who do not live openly, Bettel emphasized the importance of honesty in politics. “Everyone has to be OK with their own situation," he said. "When you have accepted yourself that you are like you are – the first step as a teenager – the next step is to see that no one cares. If you are losing friends because of your sexuality then they are not your friends. I never hid it. It’s a fact, I am like I am and I want to be honest with myself and honest in politics.”
Bettel aims to pass marriage equality in Luxembourg by next year. “At the moment in Luxembourg, we have to go through the situation of weddings, religion and divorce laws. But I don’t think it’ll be in the next five years – it’ll be next year.”
Though it does not yet legally recognize same-sex marriage, Luxembourg has recognized civil unions since January 2010. In 1997, the Luxembourg Parliament introduced legislation that criminalized the incitement of discrimination, hatred, and violence on the basis of sexual orientation. Luxembourg also has anti-discrimination laws that apply to employment and the provision of goods and services. However, same-sex marriage and joint adoption by same-sex couples is still illegal.