The gay Irish prime minister called out Mike Pence’s homophobia right in front of him

Varadkar, Pence, and others gathered outside the Naval Observatory
Prime Minister Leo Varadkar (left), his partner Matthew Barrett (right), and Mike Pence and his sister Anne (center) Photo: Twitter/@campaignforleo

Yesterday morning the prime minister of Ireland had breakfast with Mike Pence and he made some pointed comments about accepting others.

Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and his partner Matthew Barrett are in Washington this week on a diplomatic visit to the U.S. Yesterday morning, they had a breakfast in honor of St Patrick’s Day at Pence’s residence at the Naval Observatory.

Karen Pence, who works at a school that bans LGBTQ students and teachers, was not available for the meeting, so Mike Pence’s sister Anne attended instead.

Varadkar sent a polite tweet about Pence’s “warm reception,” but he had some pointed comments for journalists who gathered at the Naval Observatory yesterday.

Related: It’s official, Leo Varadkar is now Ireland’s first gay prime minister

“I lived in a country where if I’d tried to be myself at the time, it would have ended up breaking laws,” he said.

“I stand here as the leader of my country. Flawed and human, but judged by my political actions, not by my sexual orientation, my skin tone, gender, or religious beliefs.”

Varadkar, whose father was born in India and immigrated to Ireland, said that his story is possible in “every country where freedom and liberty are cherished.”

“We are, after all, all God’s children.”

Pence’s history of anti-LGBTQ statements and actions is long and well known, starting with his campaign for the U.S. House in 2000 when he supported federal funding for conversion therapy. He has worked against LGBTQ rights in the House, as the governor of Indiana, and now as vice president.

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