Gay husband among First Ladies: White House frowns

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Brussels: Last Thursday, spouses of world leaders posed for a photo-op at a NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium. Gauthier Destenay, the gay husband of Luxembourg‘s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, was included in the op.

Also included in the photo op were the US First Lady Melania Trump; Brigitte Macron of France; Emine Erdoğan of Turkey; Queen Mathilde of Belgium; Ingrid Schulerud, wife of NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg; Desislava Radeva of Bulgaria; Amelie Derbaudrenghien of Belgium; Mojca Stropnik of Slovenia; and Thora Margret Baldvinsdottir of Iceland. Destenay, Stropnik, and Baldvinsdottir stood on the back row of the op, while the remaining stood on the front.

Xavier Bettel and Gauthier Destenay were in the civil partnership before Bettel became Luxembourg’s prime minister in 2013. The homosexual couple has been married since 2015, the year when their country legalised same-sex marriage.

Former Prime Ministers Elio Di Rupo of Belgium and Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir of Iceland were openly gay when they served office in their respective countries.

The world leaders attended a NATO conference in Brussels on the week of 22 May.

White House not gay about it?

The White House Facebook page did not mention Destenay in the post featuring the spouses of world leaders. The caption of the photograph they uploaded included the names of all other spouses, all of them wives of different world leaders. The omission stayed for about 6 h, and then Daily Beast editor Scott Bixby pointed out the oddity on Twitter: writing: “Is there a reason the White House didn’t include the First Gentleman of Luxembourg in this photo caption? Like, a non-homophobic one?”

About 12 h after the protest, the White House edited the Facebook status to include Destenay’s name. The snap by White House photographer Andrea Hanks shows Melania Trump with Queen Mathilde, Gauthier Destnary, Emine Erdoğan, Iceland’s Thora Margret Baldvinsdottir, Brigitte Macron of France, Slovenia’s Mojca Stropnik, Desislava Radeva (Bulgaria), Amélie Derbaudrenghien (Belgium) and Ingrid Schulerud (Norway).

Several social media users had noticed the omission in the caption. They criticised what they believed was White House’s anti-LGBT attitude.