Latvia’s Parliament on Wednesday elected former foreign minister Edgars Rinkevics as President, making him the first openly gay person to hold the position in any country.
“I am honoured and humbled to be elected as President of the Republic of Latvia, I will do my best to serve the people of Latvia well,” Rinkevics tweeted following the vote.
While not the first openly gay head of state, Rinkevics’s election marks yet another milestone for LGBTQ+ politicians.
Rinkevics came out in 2014, signaling on Twitter his support for a “legal framework for all types of partnerships.”
In coming out, Rinkevics became the first openly LGBTQ+ politician in Latvia, which is still considered to be more socially conservative then its Baltic neighbors.
A court in the country last year ruled that same-sex couples are entitled to legal recognition, though marriage and adoption are still exclusively reserved for heterosexual couples.
The View From San Marino
Rinkevics will become the first openly gay president, but not the first head of state. That distinction is reserved for Paolo Rondelli, who served as one of San Marino’s Captain Regents in 2022.
Before his appointment, Rondelli was an outspoken LGBTQ+ activist and served as the country’s ambassador to the United States.
- Latvia and Eastern Europe progressed on LGBTQ+ rights in an effort to distance themselves from Russian influence, writes Michael Birnbaum for The Washington Post. Although right-wing figures prevail in many of these countries, the general acceptance of gay rights has coincided with many of these countries joining the European Union and embracing EU political values.