Ireland's openly gay PM takes a swipe at Mike Pence with a special LGBT-inclusive speech

Louis Staples
Friday 15 March 2019 12:00
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Leo Varadkar, Ireland's prime minister, has travelled to America on a diplomatic visit, spending time with US vice president Mike Pence and his wife Karen.

Varadkar, one of the few openly gay world leaders, brought his partner, Matt Barrett, to meet the Pences. During a speech made at a breakfast hosted by Pence, Varadkar delivered remarks which people have interpreted as a nod to LGBT+ inclusion.

Ireland’s first gay prime minister talked about the societal change that allowed him to become Ireland's first openly gay prime minister, judged by his ''political action'' not his sexual orientation, skin tone, gender or religious beliefs.

He said:

We are all God’s children.

Varadkar’s visit to see Pence might seem unusual because the vice president has an extensive anti-LGBT+ voting record. As governor of Indiana, he repeatedly voted against HIV/AIDS prevention funding, supporting the widely discredited “gay conversion therapy” as a sexual health measure. He is widely blamed for an HIV outbreak in Indiana while he was governor.

Given Pence’s anti-LGBT+ record, seeing one of the world’s only openly gay leaders embrace him so warmly was not welcomed by all.

Though others saw the meeting as an important step forward.

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