The Prime Minister of Luxembourg has become the first gay EU leader to marry in a same-sex union.
Xavier Bettel married his partner today in a small ceremony and is now being held up as a symbol of social change and the growing acceptance of homosexuality across Europe.
The 42-year-old centre-right politician married his partner Gauthier Destenay, a Belgian architect.
The wedding comes mere months after the conservative Roman Catholic duchy legalised gay weddings.
Bettel is only the second gay leader in the world to marry their partner, and the first in the 28-nation European Union. The first was Iceland’s prime minister, Johanna Sigurdardottir, who married her partner in 2010.
Prior to the wedding, Bettel explained that he never wanted to hide his sexuality.
Speaking to Belgium’s RTBF public television, he said:
I could have hidden it or repressed it and been unhappy my whole life. I could have had relations with someone of the other sex while having homosexual relations in secret. But I told myself that if you want to be a politician and be honest in politics, you have to be honest with yourself and to accept that you are who you are.
Luxembourg’s parliament approved same-sex marriage in June 2014 and the first weddings took place on January 1, 2015, making it the latest in a growing number of European countries to embrace the trend.
Bettel has been in a civil union with Destenay since 2010 but now the two are officially married thanks to the change in the law.
Unfortunately, they have had to postpone their honeymoon because of Bettel’s busy political schedule which includes Luxembourg taking over the rotating presidency of the EU on July 1.
What a lovely story. Congratulations to the happy couple!