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World’s only openly gay Prime Minister visits Orlando to pay respects

Nick Duffy August 5, 2016

The Prime Minister of Luxembourg, the only current openly gay world leader, has visited the site of the Orlando Massacre.

Xavier Bettel is only the third out person to lead a country, following on from ex-Belgian leader Elio Di Rupo and Iceland’s former PM Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir.

Given his currently-unique role, Mr Bettel paid a poignant visit to Orlando this week with his husband, on the way to Rio for the Olympic Games.

Mayor of Orlando Buddy Dyer took them to the site of the Pulse nightclub, where a semi-permanent tribute now stands with flowers and photographs of the victim.

The Mayor tweeted: “The world still stands with Orlando. Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel visited today to offer condolences.”

49 people were killed and more than 50 were injured in the horrific shooting, which took place nearly two months ago.

The tiny European state of Luxembourg has a population of just over half a million, and it is so small you can walk across it in a day.

Mr Bettel was elected the head of the country’s Democratic Party in 2013, and became Prime Minister the same year by brokering a coalition with Socialist leader Étienne Schneider, who became his Deputy Prime Minister.

As both the leaders are openly gay, Luxembourg is the first country to have a gay Prime Minister and gay Deputy Prime Minister at the same time.

Under Mr Bettel’s leadership, Luxembourg passed equal marriage by a landslide vote of 56-4, and the law came into effect last year with remarkably little attention.

The Prime Minister was one of the first people to take advantage of the changes in May 2015, tying the knot himself… though not to Mr Schneider.

He married his long time partner Gauthier Destenay in a private ceremony with a strict ban on press. A number of other European leaders are rumoured to have been on the guest list, including Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel.

More: club, Europe, Gay, head, LGBT, Luxembourg, Luxembourg, Orlando, Orlando Massacre, PM, Prime Minister, Pulse, shooting, US

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