For the first time in history, a country will have an openly gay man as both its prime minister and its vice prime minister.
Xavier Bettel was sworn in yesterday as Luxembourg’s prime minister, making the former talk show host Europe’s first openly gay prime minister. (And before you leave me nasty comments, Bettel is Europe’s third openly gay head of state, Iceland has had a gay premier in the past, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, and Belgium’s current premier, Elio Di Rupo, is gay.)
Prime Minister Bettel is a member of the Democratic Party, but since the Democrats don’t have enough seats to claim a majority, Bettel has formed a coalition government with the Greens and Socialist parties. In that negotiation, Etienne Schneider, head of the Socialist party, was named deputy prime minister.
Schneider (left) has an impressive resume himself. He was serving as Minister of the Economy when he was tapped to be second-in-command, and he was once managing director of the German energy company Enovos.
Like Prime Minister Battel, Etienne Schneider is also openly gay.
This gives Luxembourg the distinction of being the first county in the world with gay men filling the top two spots in the government.
“People do not consider the fact of whether someone is gay or not.” Bettel says of Luxembourg. “Sometimes it’s not easy because you have some conservative persons, but there are always less and less and less.’
Bettel said he hoped he hadn’t made his sexuality an issue that people voted for or against.
“I think people vote for my character and they vote for my full party,” He said. ‘They’re just happy to see that I’m happy too, because if you’re happy at home, people can feel it and see that you’re doing your job well.”
Gauthier Destenay and Prime Minister Bettel:
So what’s on the agenda for Europe’s first gay prime minister? Marriage equality. Currently, Luxembourg does not allow same-sex marriages.
“Gay weddings will be done soon.” Prime Minister Bettel promised. “At the moment in Luxembourg, we have to change the situation of marriage, religion and divorce laws. But I don’t think it’ll be in the next five years – it’ll be next year.”
One other interesting goal of Prime Minister Xavier Bettel? (right) He wants to remove biblical references in the public school curriculum and develop a course to teach children ethics without religion.
He sound like a keeper.
All photos are from Facebook
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