Pence hosts openly gay Irish prime minister and his partner for breakfast

Vice President Pence hosted the openly gay prime minister of Ireland and his partner for breakfast at the Naval Observatory Thursday.

Leo Varadkar, who is in the U.S. for an annual meeting with U.S. officials ahead of St. Patrick's Day, shared photos of the event on Twitter.

His meeting with Pence drew attention given that Varadkar is one of the few openly gay world leaders, while Pence has been frequently criticized for supporting anti-LGBTQ positions. 


As governor of Indiana, Pence signed a religious freedom law that was criticized as a pathway to legal anti-LGBTQ discrimination.

As a member of Congress, Pence supported a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage.

Varadkar briefly touched on his sexuality while speaking at the event on Thursday.

“I lived in a country where if I’d tried to be myself at the time, it would have ended up breaking laws,” the Irish prime minister said, according to the Washington Post.

“But today, that is all changed. I stand here, leader of my country, flawed and human, but judged by my political actions, and not by my sexual orientation, my skin tone, gender or religious beliefs.”

Although Pence has hosted Varadkar before, this is the first time the vice president has hosted the partner of an openly gay world leader. 

After meeting with Pence last year, Varadkar told Irish reporters that the vice president told the Irish leader that his partner, Matt Barrett, would be welcome at his home.

“They were very well briefed,” Varadkar said of his meeting with Pence and his wife Karen PenceKaren Sue PenceThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by USAA — House Dems subpoena Giuliani associates Trump feud with Minneapolis mayor to take center stage at rally Karen Pence launches an Instagram account MORE, according to the Post. “They knew about my personal story, that my partner was living in Chicago, and they said both Matt and I would be very welcome to visit their home in future.”