Wednesday, July 21, 2004

The Outing of Guido Westerwelle

If the Spiegel is to be believed, the German press seems to be having a field day over the revelation that FDP leader Guido Westerwelle is gay, with the tabloid Bild leading the charge, headlines blaring "Guido Westerwelle Loves this Man". It isn't at all clear to me why this should matter. Wasn't the lesson of the Lewinsky business supposed to be that Europeans were too sophisticated to care about such things?

What's particularly irritating about this is that the FDP is about as close to a classical liberal party as it gets in Europe, far closer to the ideal than anything to be found in Britain and France - this has never been a party to go on and on about "traditional family values", so one doesn't even have the excuse of pointing out hypocrisy to go on here. This exposé is purely about the titillation of nosy people.

At any rate, I wonder what certain sections of the CDU and the CSU have to say about all this, what with the "C" in both parties standing for "Christian" ...

POSTSCRIPT: Just to make it clear for those who don't read German, the Spiegel article indicates that this "outing" was very much a carefully choreographed event initiated by Westerwelle himself. That said, I still stand by eveything I wrote above: if the Germans really were as blasé about such things as they affect to be, the story wouldn't have made any media impression whatsoever.