When the minister’s wife is a man

German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle (r) and his life partner Michael Mronz

ONE OF THE GREAT pleasures of living abroad is sitting back and observing how different other countries are from the US. Just imagine a story like this one hitting the press in the land of Pat Robertson and the home of the “wide stance”:

Last week, the world’s first openly gay foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, travelled to Japan and China. In the runup to the journey, a noticeably agitated Japanese protocol officer confronted the minister’s staff and informed them that it just wouldn’t do for Germany’s chief diplomat to bring his life partner along on his first official state visit to the Land of the Rising Sun. “Homosexuality in artistic circles is accepted in Japan,” he announced. “But in business and politics, it is a taboo.” Was this the start of an international incident? No, at all – Westerwelle, head of the Free Democratic party, merely laughed the comment off and headed for the airport with his boyfriend, Michael Mronz. Upon their arrival in Tokyo…



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