Taoiseach to raise gay rights issues with US Vice President Mike Pence

Taoiseach to raise gay rights issues with US Vice President Mike Pence

LGBT rights will be on the agenda as the Taoiseach meets with US Vice President Mike Pence this morning.

Leo Varadkar has said he would raise gay rights with the Vice President who has been criticised for his stance on the issue in the past.

Mike Pence's views on LGBT rights have been controversial in the past, when he seemed to support conversion therapy, or treatments to try and change someone's sexual orientation.

His camp dispute that allegation.

Ireland's first openly gay Taoiseach will have breakfast in the VPs residence this morning, and has vowed to raise the issue.

Taoiseach to raise gay rights issues with US Vice President Mike Pence

Mr Varadkar said: "It's tough to see a country that is built on freedom, built on individual freedom somehow not being a world leader in that space any more."

In a break with protocol, Mr Pence's officials have excluded the media from the event, a move with which Mr Varadkar expressed disappointment.

He said he would have preferred if the cameras were allowed in to document their comments, but the Taoiseach added: "It allows us maybe to have a frank conversation that's easier to have without the media present."

However, he also said it might take pressure off the conversation.

The Taoiseach said: "You know I appreciate from the media's point of view you'd like to be there and we would like you to be there too, but it's their decision that it will be closed to media.

"It allows us maybe to have a frank conversation that's easier to have without the media present."

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