Gay Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar to challenge DUP by attending Belfast Pride
Leo Varadkar, the out prime minister of Ireland, is to attend pride in Belfast.
The move is expected to anger Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster, who is strongly opposed same-sex marriage.
Northern Ireland still does not have the equality measure, despite a majority of its politicians supporting the move.
Varadkar, the Taoiseach (Prime Minister), will attend a breakfast for the annual LGBT pride event in the Northern Irish capital.
He is unable to march in the parade due to an existing commitment, however.
The newly-elected leader said that despite the DUP opposing numerous LGBT rights, he will not be cowed in his commitments.
“I will attend the Pride breakfast on Saturday morning in Belfast to express my support for equality before the law for Catholics, Protestants, non-religious people, men, women, gay people and straight people.
“And I won’t be making any compromises about that for anyone really.”
In June the Taoiseach, who revealed he was gay ahead of the Republic’s 2015 same-sex marriage referendum, is believed to have angered the DUP when he criticised their refusal to implement same-sex marriage.
Varadkar also defended transgender troops serving in Ireland’s military.
Varadkar, who made history when he became the first gay Prime Minister of Ireland, made the statement after US President Donald Trump stated that trans troops would be banned from serving earlier this week.
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The Taoiseach said that the transgender ban was “not something I agree with”.
“It is a domestic policy issue for the United States,” Varadkar explained. “They run their defence forces, we run ours”.
He added that “It is not something I would ever consider introducing to Ireland”.
The Defence Forces in Ireland said in a statement that it is “committed to the principle of equal opportunity in all its employment policies”.
“The Defence Forces welcome applications from all members of Irish society, irrespective of sexual orientation or gender”.