Edgars Rinkevics, the longest-serving Foreign Minister of Latvia, has made history by becoming the first openly gay head of state in the European Union (EU). Rinkevics was sworn in as the country’s new President, taking on a role where he has pledged to champion inclusion and equality.
While the position of President in Latvia is largely ceremonial, it does hold some significant powers, including the ability to veto legislation and call for referendums. In his inaugural address to the parliament, Rinkevics expressed his intention to utilize his limited powers to influence legislation and shape public opinion, aiming to foster a more inclusive and egalitarian society in Latvia.
Rinkevics served as the country’s Foreign Minister from 2011 until his official resignation last Friday. He publicly came out as gay in November 2014, bravely sharing his sexual orientation with the public. It is worth noting that although gay marriage is currently illegal in Latvia, the country’s constitutional court recognized same-sex unions in the past year, reflecting a step towards greater recognition and acceptance.
Rinkevics’ historic appointment as the first openly gay head of state in the EU signifies progress in terms of LGBTQ+ representation in leadership roles. His presidency carries symbolic importance and serves as a beacon of hope for advancing LGBTQ+ rights and promoting diversity across Europe.