The prime minister of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg announced last week that he and his male partner would be among the first in the country to take advantage of their recently passed “gay marriage” law.
Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, the leader of the Democratic Party, told a reporter from the Los Angeles Times, “He asked me, and I said yes. I can’t give you the date, because it’s not official yet.” Bettel said he and his partner of four years, Destenay Gauthier, would undertake the marriage ceremony as soon as the law comes into effect in 2015.
“People who are against it, they will just blame you and say, ‘We have unemployment, we have poverty, we have problems with housing, but this is his biggest priority?’ The text was ready. Why should we wait six months or a year just to [mollify] people who will always complain? When it was done, it was done.”
“I don’t know how in the States you think about it,” Bettel told the paper, “but I think in Europe, what is important is people respect private choices as long as you are honest.”
In June this year, Luxembourg, whose population is 87 percent Catholic, became the eleventh European Union member state and the seventeenth country in the world to create legal “gay marriage.” The new law, which passed in a vote of 56 – 4, also includes a right to adopt children.
In 2013 Bettel’s party formed a coalition government with the Luxembourg Socialist Workers’ Party and the Greens. Among his government’s policies, in addition to marriage definition, is to replace religious instruction in Luxembourg’s schools with a programme of “general ethics.”
When he was elected as the mayor of the capital, Luxembourg City, Bettel said that being the country’s first openly homosexual mayor, “means above all that Luxembourg voters are not fixed on personal life or sexual orientation, whatever happens at home stays private.”
Upon being called by Duke Henri, the country’s constitutional monarch, to form a government in 2013, Bettel said in an interview with Buzzfeed, “Society is changing and what would be considered as not normal [in the past] is fully normal nowadays. You can live your life as yourself and be considered as you are – not because you look like a politician who is married and with children.”
He promised at that time to institute “gay marriage,” saying, “Gay weddings will be done [forthrightly]. At the moment in Luxembourg, we have to go through the situation of weddings, religion and divorce laws. But I don’t think it’ll be in the next five years – it’ll be next year.”