A rather unusual photograph of first spouses appeared at the NATO conference currently being held at Brussels. In a row of all first ladies stood Gauthier Destenay, Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel’s openly gay husband, as the first spouse. While he is not the only gay spouse of a leader, Destenay is currently the only openly gay spouse of an elected representative.
Bettel and Destenay got married in 2015, right after gay marriage had been made legal in Luxembourg. However, the two had been together since before Bettel’s election to Prime Ministership in 2013 and were in a civil partnership. Their relationship or sexuality was not a secret.
The photograph, taken ahead of a dinner arranged exclusively for the spouses, includes France’s first lady Brigitte Trogneux, Turkey’s first lady Emine Erdogan, U.S. first lady Melania Trump, Slovenia’s Mojca Stropnik, Queen Mathilde of Belgium, Iceland’s Thora Margret Baldvinsdottir, Norway’s Ingrid Schulerud – Stoltenberg, Bulgaria’s Desislava Radeva and Belgium’s Amelie Derbaudrenghien.
An architect by profession, Destenay has made several public appearances with Bettel. They were also present at the royal wedding of Prince Guillaume and Princess Stéphanie in 2012. The couple was also invited to celebration of the 60th anniversary of the European Union’s Treaty of Rome by Pope Francis.
In fact, Bettel has said that he won’t be going to events if his spouse was not invited to them as well. In an interview to LA Times, he had said, ““I had invitations for the first two, three, four years where it was ‘Monsieur and Madame.’ But now it’s clear in everybody’s mind. If I’m not invited with Gauthier, I won’t go.”