Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel will become the first serving leader in the European Union to marry someone of the same sex — and only the second worldwide – in this tiny, mostly Catholic country considered rather conservative.
Bettel, 42, and his civil partner Gauthier Destenay are among the first gay men to exercise their right to wed since the Grand Duchy in January became the latest EU state to extend full rights to same-sex marriages, Reuters reported Friday.
“Everyone’s warm and positive,” broadcaster Stephane Bern, a long-time friend who will be a guest at the quiet civil ceremony, was quoted as saying by the Luxemburger Wort newspaper.
“It won’t be a flashy ceremony but the symbolism’s very strong.”
A lawyer who became mayor of the city of Luxembourg at 38, Bettel has long been open about his sexuality and plays down its significance. He said his coalition deputy is also gay.
Five years ago, Johanna Sigurdardottir, then the prime minister of Iceland, became the first serving leader in the world to marry a same-sex partner.
Bettel took power 18 months ago after his center-right party won elections that ended 19 years in power for Jean-Claude Juncker, who now heads the European Commission in Brussels.
Shortly after Luxembourg’s parliament last year became the ninth EU legislature to clear the way for gay marriage, Bettel told the Los Angeles Times that Destenay, a Belgian architect who has been his civil partner since 2010, had proposed.
“I said ‘Yes’,” he said. “I have just one life and I don’t want to hide my life.”
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