The German Foreign Minister is gay, who cares?

he German Deputy Chancellor and Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle
he German Deputy Chancellor and Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle

The Germany Government has pledged to support Uganda in its struggle against terrorism. The German Deputy Chancellor and Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle said this on July 22 while laying a wreath at Lugogo Rugby Club, one of the scenes of the 7/11 bombings. He was received by Ugandan Foreign Affairs State Minister Okello Oryem.

Before visiting Kyandondo Rugby club, Westerwelle addressed the African Union Summit in Munyonyo and appreciated that Africa is finally assuming its rightful place in the international community.

In essence, Westerwelle did everything a foreign minister should be expected to do. He was brief, to the point, generous and polite while stating the position of the German government. And he was appropriately received and treated with due respect by the Ugandan government.

But Westerwelle is quite a unique politician for he is the first openly gay foreign minister in the world. Gay people are just as qualified and able to perform a job as a straight person. And accepting that gay people are not freaks of nature but just ordinary people is the first step towards stemming the prejudice and hostility that gay people face in Uganda.

The circumstances surrounding Westerwelle’s visit did not allow for him to comment on the debate over the pending legislation criminalizing homosexuality and even the German press gave him a pass for not doing so. But his stand on the issue is clear.

“German foreign policy and development aid must be oriented on liberal values and human rights,” said Westerwelle before he became foreign minister.

One suspects that Westerwelle will not be so quiet on the issue next time he visits Uganda. Nor should he be.