b 27 December 1961
|Guido_Westerwelle (right) and partner Michael Mronz (L)
Guido Westerwelle is a German liberal politician, currently serving as the Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor of Germany in the second cabinet of Chancellor Angela Merkel (since 28 October 2009). He is the first openly gay person to hold either of those positions. Since 2001, he has been the chairman of the Free Democratic Party of Germany. A lawyer by profession, he has been a Member of Parliament since 1996.
Westerwelle joined the FDP in 1980. He was a founding member of the Junge Liberale, the youth organization of that party, and was its chairman from 1983 to 1988.
Having been a member of the Executive Board of the FDP since 1988, he first gained national prominence in 1994, when he was appointed Secretary General of the party. As such, he was a notable proponent of an unlimited free market economy and took a leading part in the drafting of a new party programme.
In 1996, Westerwelle was first elected a member of the German Bundestag, filling in for Heinz Lanfermann, who had resigned from his seat after entering the Ministry of Justice. In 1998, Westerwelle was re-elected to parliament.
In 2001, he succeeded Wolfgang Gerhardt as party chairman, who however remained chairman of the FDP’s parliamentary group. Westerwelle was then the youngest chairman in the party’s history,
Until 2004 he was not openly gay, although this was fairly common knowledge in the general public. On 20 July 2004, Westerwelle attended Angela Merkel’s 50th birthday party accompanied by his partner, businessman Michael Mronz, thereby tacitly acknowledging that he was gay. It was the first time that he attended an official event with his partner. Today, he is frank about his homosexuality and lives together with his partner Michael Mronz. The couple registered their partnership on 17 September 2010 in a private ceremony in Bonn
“Hakan Tas – a journalist and gay rights activists was elected to Berlin Parliament from The Left (Die Linke) party.
In his interview to Turkish Hurriyet Daily News Tas noted that Turkish President Abdullah Gul congratulated him during his visit to Germany.”
“People in Germany are used to gay politicians; the mayor of Berlin is gay, as is Germany’s ministry of foreign affairs. As a rough estimate, we assume that some 8 percent of the 2.5 million Turks here are gay. However, not everyone is open about their sexual identity and this is not an easy thing to do,” Tas said.
He mentioned that about five thousand people joined the annual gay parade held in Istanbul.
Tas characterized the banning the access to two major LGBT sites, the official websites of gay organizations Kaos GL and LambdaIstanbul by the Turkish Parliament as violation of human rights.
“That’s definitely against human rights and it is a big mistake by the Parliament. These are legal associations approved by Turkish authorities. Turkey needs to let its politicians do politics freely.”