Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel is to wed his gay partner on Friday, becoming the first European Union leader to enter into a same-sex marriage, a symbol of growing social change across the continent.
Bettel, 42, a centre-right politician who became premier in 2013, will marry Gauthier Destenay, a Belgian architect, just months after the conservative Roman Catholic duchy legalised gay weddings.
The low-key ceremony at the town hall in Luxembourg is being deliberately kept out off the media spotlight and will be followed by weekend-long private celebrations for around 500 guests, sources said.
Among those invited are Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel.
As well as being the first leader in the 28-nation EU to wed a gay partner, Bettel is only the second in the world after Iceland’s prime minister Johanna Sigurdardottir, who married her writer partner in 2010.
On the eve of his marriage to Destenay, Bettel said he had not wanted to hide his sexuality.
“I could have hidden it or repressed it and been unhappy my whole life. I could have had relations with someone of the other sex while having homosexual relations in secret,” he told Belgium’s RTBF public television.
“But I told myself that if you want to be a politician be honest in politics, you have to be honest with yourself and to accept that you are who you are.”
Same-sex marriage was approved by Luxembourg’s parliament in June 2014 and the first weddings took place on January 1, 2015.
In August, Bettel said he would marry Destenay with whom he has been in a civil union since 2010. “He asked me and I said ‘yes,’” he told the Los Angeles Times.