Members of the ruling Fine Gael party on June 2 elected Leo Varadkar, who is of Indian descent, as their next leader. Varadkar, 38, will likely succeed outgoing Prime Minister Enda Kenny when the Irish Parliament votes later this month.
Varadkar, who is currently Ireland’s Minister of Social Protection, would be the country’s first openly gay prime minister.
His father was born in India. Varadkar would also become Ireland’s first prime minister of Indian descent.
“If my election of leader of Fine Gael today has shown anything, it is that prejudice has no hold in this republic,” Varadkar told supporters after his election as leader of Fine Gael, according to the Irish Times.
Members of Fine Gael elected Varadkar as their party’s leaders slightly more than two years after Ireland became the first country in which same-sex couples received marriage rights through a popular vote.
Gays and lesbians have been able to legally marry in Ireland since November 2015.
Ireland decriminalized consensual same-sex sexual relations in 1993.
A law that allows transgender people to legally change their gender without medical intervention took effect in September 2015. The statute does not include intersex people and those who are under the age of 18.
Varadkar poised to become world’s fourth gay prime minister
Varadkar is poised to become the fourth openly gay or lesbian person to head a government.
Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir was the prime minister of Iceland from 2009-2013. Elio Di Rupo was the prime minister of Belgium from 2011-2014.
Xavier Bettel has been the prime minister of Luxembourg since 2013.
The White House did not include the name of Bettel’s husband, Gauthier Destenay, in the caption of a picture it released late last month that included first lady Melania Trump and other spouses of heads of state who attended a NATO summit in Brussels. Destenay’s name was added to the caption after media reports highlighted its omission.