Irish PM marches with partner in NY St Patrick’s Day Parade

(PINKNEWS) – Irish leader Leo Varadkar has marched with his partner Matt in New York St Patrick’s Day Parade – which until recently banned LGBT groups.

Ireland’s out Taoiseach (prime minister) has been a trip to the US for St Patrick’s Day, already raising LGBT rights with Donald Trump and Mike Pence.

Mr Varadkar broke another barrier today – when he marched alongside his same-sex partner in New York St Patrick’s Day Parade.

Due to the strong influence of conservative Catholic groups, the parade had maintained a decades-long ban on LGBT groups. It slowly lifted the rule in 2016 and 2017, under pressure from commercial sponsors.

Mr Varadkar held hands with his partner Matt Barrett, a doctor who currently lives in the US, as they walked together in the parade.
Mr Barrett has eschewed many of the traditional roles associated with a leader’s partner or spouse, but appeared happy to support his boyfriend at the event.

Mr Varadkar acknowledged: “It was a real privilege to march with my partner. Only a few years ago people couldn’t march under the rainbow banner, but that has all changed.

“Ireland has embraced diversity and inclusiveness, and Irish Americans in New York have embraced that too.”

The leader also paid a visit to the Stonewall Inn – the birthplace of the modern LGBT rights movement ahead of the march.

He wrote: “My first visit to the Stonewall monument. Really proud to be here #StPatricksDay”

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