Luxembourg’s prime minister on Friday becomes the first serving leader in the European Union to marry someone of the same sex, and only the second worldwide — and all in a tiny, mostly Catholic country often considered rather conservative. Xavier Bettel, 42, and his civil partner Gauthier Destenay are among the first gay men to exercise their right to wed since the Grand Duchy in January become the latest EU state to extend full rights to same-sex marriages. A lawyer who became mayor of the city of Luxembourg at 38, Bettel has long been open about his sexuality and plays down its significance. He notes that his coalition deputy is also gay. Five years ago, Johanna Sigurdardottir, then the prime minister of Iceland, became the first serving leader in the world to marry a same-sex partner.
RELATED: The European Union currently has 28 members. Same-sex marriage is legal
in eleven of them: Belgium, Denmark, Finland (effective 2017), France,
Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia (effective date
pending), Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom (except Northern
Ireland.) Civil unions are legal in eight EU nations: Austria, Croatia,
the Czech Republic, Estonia (effective 2016), Germany, Hungary, Ireland and Malta. No partnership recognitions exist in nine EU
nations: Bulgaria, Cyprus*, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania,
*A civil unions bill advanced in Cyprus last week.