Ireland Set to Have Its First Openly Gay Prime Minister: Meet Leo Varadkar

Leo Varadkar, 38, is set to become Ireland's youngest ever leader and the first who is openly gay

World News - June 2, 2017
Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire/ZUMA Press

Leo Varadkar is set to become Ireland’s youngest ever leader and the first who is openly gay.

The country’s ruling Fine Gael party on Friday elected the 38-year-old as its new leader.

Varadkar, who currently serves as minister for social protection, will officially be confirmed as prime minister when the Irish parliament reconvenes on June 13, according to CNN.

He is in line to replace outgoing Prime Minister Enda Kenny, who announced his decision to step down in May amid growing pressure from his party over his handling of an Irish police force scandal.

The son of an Indian-born father and Irish mother, Varadkar would also be the country’s first prime minister of Asian immigrant descent.

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“I want to thank everyone who engaged in this extraordinary, open democratic process,” Varadkar said in his acceptance speech, according to the Los Angeles Times. “For me, it’s just the start of a more democratic and more engaged Fine Gael and we will be stronger for it.”

Varadkar came out as gay on Irish national radio in 2015. Then the minister of health, he joined several other openly gay Irish politicians in backing the Marriage Equality Bill allowing same-sex couples to wed.

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Varadkar spoke to Belfast newspaper the Irish News last month about his boyfriend of nearly two years, Dr. Matt Barrett.

“Matt is just a very special person. Someone who is unconditionally on my side, which is always great,” Varadkar said. “He is the kind of person who has made me a better person.”

Asked if the couple had plans to marry, Varadkar said, “We’ve never discussed it. So it is not on the agenda. It is only two years. Not even two years!”

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