Guido Westerwelle is a German liberal politician, currently serving as the Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor of Germany in the second cabinet of Chancellor Angela Merkel (since 28 October 2009). He is the first openly gay person to hold either of those positions. Since 2001, he has been the chairman of the Free Democratic Party of Germany. A lawyer by profession, he has been a Member of Parliament since 1996.
Westerwelle joined the FDP in 1980. He was a founding member of the Junge Liberale, the youth organization of that party, and was its chairman from 1983 to 1988.
Having been a member of the Executive Board of the FDP since 1988, he first gained national prominence in 1994, when he was appointed Secretary General of the party. As such, he was a notable proponent of an unlimited free market economy and took a leading part in the drafting of a new party programme.
In 1996, Westerwelle was first elected a member of the German Bundestag, filling in for Heinz Lanfermann, who had resigned from his seat after entering the Ministry of Justice. In 1998, Westerwelle was re-elected to parliament.
In 2001, he succeeded Wolfgang Gerhardt as party chairman, who however remained chairman of the FDP's parliamentary group. Westerwelle was then the youngest chairman in the party's history,
Until 2004 he was not openly gay, although this was fairly common knowledge in the general public. On 20 July 2004, Westerwelle attended Angela Merkel's 50th birthday party accompanied by his partner, businessman Michael Mronz, thereby tacitly acknowledging that he was gay. It was the first time that he attended an official event with his partner. Today, he is frank about his homosexuality and lives together with his partner Michael Mronz. The couple registered their partnership on 17 September 2010 in a private ceremony in Bonn