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Cabinet minister tells radio host 'I am gay'

Updated: 2015-01-20 07:56
By Agence France-Presse in Dublin (China Daily)

One of Ireland's most prominent politicians announced on Sunday that he is gay, becoming the first openly homosexual Cabinet minister in Irish history, four months before a referendum on same-sex marriage in the traditionally Catholic country.

Seen as a potential contender to succeed Prime Minister Enda Kenny as leader of the ruling center-right Fine Gael party, Health Minister Leo Varadkar made the announcement in an interview on national broadcaster RTE.

"I am a gay man. It's not a secret but not something that everyone would necessarily know, but it isn't something I've spoken publicly about before," said Varadkar, 36.

Varadkar, who was born in Dublin to an Indian father and Irish mother, said he would be campaigning in favor of same-sex marriage ahead of the May referendum and wanted to be "honest with people".

"I want people to know whatever decisions are made on issues, I'll make them according to what I believe is in the public interest," Varadkar said.

The influence of the Roman Catholic Church in the traditionally conservative country has waned in the wake of a series of child abuse scandals in Ireland, which decriminalized homosexuality in 1993.

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