The German government's appointment of the world's first openly gay
foreign minister has captured the imagination of a few American
pundits. The new holder of the high-profile post, Guido Westerwelle,
and his partner are being trumpeted as Germany's new "power couple."
Some pundits cite his appointment as proof that America is behind the curve on gay rights, and others speculate that Westerwelle could play a positive role in visits to repressive countries.
- Sends a Message to Homophobic Nations, suggests James Kirchick
at Newsweek: "Westerwelle is about to become the face that Germany
presents overseas--which might be a problem for the nations where the
denial of homosexuality and the imprisonment, torture, and murder of
gay people are official state policies. That's why, after he takes the
helm of the Foreign Ministry, Westerwelle ought to kick off his tenure
with a tour of the world's most homophobic nations, speaking about the
horrific ways in which these regimes treat their gay citizens.
Unfortunately, he might be on the road for a while." Kirchick excitedly lays out a road trip of the most homophobic countries in the world. But he concedes, "The German government is unlikely to send out Westerwelle on a name-and-shame tour."
- Hardly a Breakthrough, writes Cameron Abadi
at Foreign Policy: "It wasn't news: The chairman of the FDP, the free
market Free Democratic Party, hadn't hidden his sexual orientation
during the campaign -- his partner, event manager Michael Mronz, was
often on stage with him at his rallies -- and no one he encountered on
the trail seemed inclined to make an issue of it. Being a gay
politician in Germany, it seems, is well on its way to being utterly
normal, even banal.
- A Wake-up Call for America, writes Andrew Sullivan
at The Atlantic. "As the world moves forward, Washington has more in
common with developing countries in its treatment of its own gay
citizens than with the civilized world. And this president and Congress
have no intention of changing that in any foreseeable future. The
opposition is even worse - with discrimination against homosexuals
written into its party platform."
- Well-Suited for Diplomacy, says Kilian Melloy
at Edge, a network of gay, lesbian bisexual and transgender (GLBT)
news and entertainment portals. Melloy begins by joking about Westerwelle, "He dresses well; he speaks well; his professional conduct is
of the civilized sort. Is it a surprise that...the next German foreign
minister is also openly gay?" He then explains that "being gay, while not a secret, is not part of Westerwells's professional curriculum vitae," but that "[c]ivil
conduct and an ability to listen, however, are."
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