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Europe Elects Third Gay Capital City Mayor

Europe Elects Third Gay Capital City Mayor


Europe elected its third openly gay Mayor of a capital city on October 9. Openly gay deputy mayor Bettel Xavier, 38, beat the incumbent, Paul Helminger, 71, mayor since 1999, in an electoral surprise in Luxembourg.

Elsewhere, Klaus Wowereit has been Mayor of Berlin since 2001, and has just been reelected. Bertrand DelanoŽ has been Mayor of Paris also since 2001.

Xavier, who appears with his partner during ceremonies, officially occupies the office of Mayor of the city of Luxembourg in two months.

Speaking with T TU magazine, Bettel said:

“People ask me how it feels to be the third openly gay mayor of a European capital, after Berlin and Paris. But people do not judge us on the fact that whether or not homosexual. Voters chose me for my balance, my personality. And not my sexuality.”

“People know my commitments and know they can contact me. I think this election is a recognition of the work.”

The Deputy Mayor in charge of social issues since 2005, first elected when he was 22, he is a member of the centrist Democratic Party. Bettel has pushed for abortion law reform, currently heavily restricted, as are the grounds for divorce.

“I am a lawyer by profession. I fight against all inequalities. I want a society where everyone feels good, ” he says.

“My mother told me that when I was small, I was already like that!”

The aim is now to turn Luxembourg into “an open city.” He calls his program “Multiplicity.”

Despite his efforts, Bettel has failed to get gay marriage passed. Luxembourg has a version of civil partnerships similar to the French PACS.

“Now that I am mayor, my companion asked me when I’m going to get the marriage through,” Bettel said laughing.

He has faced conservatism in the city parliament.

“I’ve been called a [woman's name], one day in parliament. It hurt me. [But] I said nothing.”

In the US, openly lesbian and gay Mayors include Annise Parker, Mayor Of Houston, Jim Gray, Mayor of Lexington and Sam Adams, Mayor of Portland. San Diego could join them with two openly gay Republicans running for Mayor there. San Francisco also has a gay Mayoral candidate in Bevan Dufty.


Related Stories:

Europe’s ‘Last Dictator’ Can’t Pronounce ‘Homosexuality’

Violence at Serbian Gay Pride Prompts Investigation

EU Calls for End to Classifying Trans People As Mentally Ill


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Photo credit: Bettel Xavier Facebook page

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1:10AM PDT on Oct 22, 2011

Thanks for the article.

7:06PM PDT on Oct 19, 2011

This is AWESOME news ! This WILL happen one day in America slowly but surely. Get on the train folks or get ran over by it.

12:07PM PDT on Oct 19, 2011

Let's go, America! Why are we lagging behind?

9:50AM PDT on Oct 19, 2011

The difference is that, when it comes to politics, Europeans think that sexual preferences and religion are irrelevant.
For example, when Louise Mensch (a British MP on the Murdoch hacking enquiry committee) was accused by a journalist of
'.....dancing drunkenly and taking drugs at a nightclub during the nineties'
she memorably replied: "Although I do not remember the specific incident, this sounds highly probable."
And she's a Tory!

9:50AM PDT on Oct 19, 2011

Good to see:-)

8:53AM PDT on Oct 19, 2011

Yes, Thom, you're right. It's not news this side of the Atlantic. We've got gay Members of Parliament, and the attitude of most people is, "So what?" It's amazing how liberating it is not having noisy right-wing Christian fundamentalist bigots infesting your political system.

7:05AM PDT on Oct 19, 2011


The better news is that in Europe we just shrugged our shoulders.
Because in Europe elected a gay mayor is no big deal any more. We don't count, we moved on.

7:02AM PDT on Oct 19, 2011

The best news that in Europe we just shrug our shoulders.
Because in Europe elected a gay mayor is no big deal any more. We moved on.

7:01AM PDT on Oct 19, 2011

Maybe a good idea to not put numbers on it, as at least the mayor of Groningen in The Netherlands is gay, and there probably will be more than the three plus this one..

6:01AM PDT on Oct 19, 2011

*Wonderful* news!!!!!!!!!!! :)

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