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An Openly Gay German Foreign Minister?

An Openly Gay German Foreign Minister?


Guido Westerwelle, who heads the Free Democratic Party of Germany, could be the first openly gay foreign minister of the country, pending the outcome of elections on Sunday.

Current polling shows that Westerwelle and the FDP could prove integral to the ability of Prime Minister Angela Merkel and her Christian Democrats to form a coalition government. If so, Westerwelle stands to receive a historic appointment that will likely test the tolerance of many world leaders more acutely than most German voters, according to The Times of London.

Germans are familiar, for example, with Klaus Wowereit, the openly gay mayor of Berlin. "What they have been uncertain about is whether a gay man, who sometimes takes his partner on official overseas trips, can function as a foreign minister," reported The Times. "Could there, for instance, be snubs from President Ahmadinejad (who, after the execution of two gay men, told a Western audience: 'We don't have homosexuals, as in your country.'). Or jokes from Silvio Berlusconi (whose supporters recently used homosexuality claims to get rid of a critical editor)?"

Westerwelle, 47, came out in 2004 when he attended Merkel's 50th birthday party with his partner, businessman Michael Mronz. He enjoyed a lighthearted image that included an appearance on Germany's version of the reality television show Big Brother.

In recent years, however, Westerwelle has grown more serious and emerged as the leader of his party, now on the cusp of a coalition government and a historic appointment.

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