Ireland Gets Its 1st Openly Gay Govt. Minister

Health minister Leo Varadkar comes out ahead of gay-rights initiatives
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 18, 2015 10:22 AM CST
Ireland Gets Its 1st Openly Gay Govt. Minister
This 2013 file photo shows health minister Leo Varadkar, who has announced he is gay, becoming the first openly gay government figure in the history of the conservative Catholic country.   (Brian Lawless)

(Newser) – A senior Cabinet minister in Ireland has announced he's gay, becoming the first openly homosexual government figure in the history of the traditionally conservative Catholic country. Today's announcement on state radio by Health Minister Leo Varadkar received widespread praise for its straightforward honesty. Varadkar said he decided to declare his sexuality before several government initiatives this year to advance gay rights. These include plans to legalize gay marriage, permit homosexual men to donate blood, and create greater parenthood rights for gays in surrogate-pregnancy cases.

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Varadkar made his announcement on his 36th birthday. He says his family, friends, and many colleagues long had known or suspected he was gay. He said he gave his parents advance warning because he didn't want them to hear the news first at Sunday Mass. (Meanwhile, a gay bull in the nation recently made some waves—and found a celebrity savior.)

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