News (World)

There’s a new gay president on the world stage

Edgars Rinkēvičs
Edgars Rinkēvičs Photo: Saeima - Valsts prezidenta vēlēšanas/via Wikipedia

Latvia, a former Soviet republic, has selected an out gay man as president. Edgars Rinkēvičs will be the first LGBTQ+ leader of a Baltic nation.

The Latvian Parliament selected Rinkēvičs to serve a four-year term. He received more than twice the number of votes as his closest rival.

One of Latvia’s most popular politicians, Rinkēvičs has served as the country’s top diplomat since 2011. He came out publicly in 2014, saying he was “proudly” gay.

The former Soviet republics have lagged behind western Europe’s support for LGBTQ+ rights, but Rinkēvičs’ election is being hailed as a step forward for both visibility and support.

Kristine Garina, head of Mozaika, an LGBTQ+ rights group in Latvia, hailed Rinkevics’ 2014 announcement as “historic for the whole post-Soviet bloc because it’s quite homophobic. He’s the first such high politician in the post-Soviet space that has come out.”

While same-sex marriage is not yet recognized, the country does offer domestic partnerships. LGBTQ+ people are protected from employment and housing discrimination under Latvian law; anti-LGBTQ+ hate speech is also illegal.

The small nation of 1.9 million people has also hosted World Pride, and Riga, the capital, hosts a Pride festival and parade that draws thousands each year.

Mike Pence “deeply” offended that the LA Dodgers re-invited “hateful” drag nuns

Previous article

Ron DeSantis’ pastor says gay people should be “put to death”

Next article