Irish Cabinet minister announces he’s gay

Good for Mr Varadkar for being the first openly gay government official in this traditionally staunchly Catholic country.

DUBLIN (AP) — A senior Cabinet minister in Ireland says he’s gay, becoming the first openly homosexual government figure in the history of the traditionally conservative Catholic country.

Sunday’s announcement on state radio by Health Minister Leo Varadkar received widespread praise for its straightforward honesty. Analysts said his decision was likely to be viewed with hindsight as a landmark of social change in a country that, until 1993, outlawed homosexual acts.

Varadkar said he decided to declare his sexuality in advance of government moves this year to advance gay rights. These include plans to legalize gay marriage, permit homosexual men to donate blood, and create greater parenthood rights for gays in surrogate-pregnancy cases. He said May’s constitutional referendum on gay marriage, in particular, got him thinking about going public.

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