Gay Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar has delivered a powerful message of anti-discrimination in front of notorious anti-LGBTIQ US Vice President Mike Pence.
Varadkar was joined by his partner Matt Barrett for the first time at an annual function at Mike and Karen Pence’s residence to celebrate St Patrick’s Day.
The Irish Taoiseach spoke at a press conference about his home country’s journey on LGBTIQ rights and called out various forms of discrimination.
“I lived in a country where if I’d tried to be myself at the time, it would have ended up breaking laws,” he said.
“But today, that is all changed. I stand here, leader of my country, flawed and human, but judged by my political actions, and not by my sexual orientation, my skin tone, gender or religious beliefs.
“And I don’t believe my country is the only one in the world where this story is possible.
“It is found in every country where freedom and liberty are cherished.
“We are, after all, all God’s children. That’s true of the United States as well, the land and home of the brave and free.”
Tweeting photos of the meeting, Varadkar wrote, “Thanks to the Vice President and his sister for a lovely morning at his home. What a great way to start this St Patrick’s weekend.”
Varadkar became Ireland’s first openly gay Taoiseach when he was elected in June 2017, a landmark election celebrated by Irish LGBTIQ advocates at the time.
He came out as gay in 2015 and spoke passionately for the “yes” campaign in the country’s successful referendum on marriage equality that year.
Vice President Mike Pence invited me and Matt to his home at the Naval Observatory this morning. It’s great to be back here for a really warm reception. pic.twitter.com/Wkh2Ic8lWP
— Leo Varadkar (@campaignforleo) March 14, 2019
Whatever you may do in your political career, bringing your partner with you to meet Mike Pence is absolutely top 10 👏👏
— Sinead Geraghty (@sinead_geraghty) March 14, 2019
Why have they issued so many anti LGBT laws in the US in recent months, when, apparently, the leadership doesn’t seem to have a problem with it? Did you ask? 🏳️🌈
— Olav Gressner 🇪🇺🏳️🌈 (@OGressner) March 14, 2019
Pence looks thrilled 🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/9afrgZYd6a
— Darren Bracken (@DarrenCBracken) March 14, 2019
I wish you have have a plan to visit Jakarta, meeting our President @jokowi 😎
— Andreas Harsono (@andreasharsono) March 15, 2019