Westerwelle, 47, is the leader of the pro-business Free Democrats, which captured 14.6% of the vote on Sunday, posting the most significant gain of any political party. Merkel met with Westerwelle on Monday allegedly to negotiate the formation of a new center-right government that would partner the Free Democrats with Merkel’s Christian Democrats.Westerwelle has been out about his sexual orientation since 2004, when he took his partner, Michael Mronz, to Merkel’s 50th birthday celebration.
Mronz, an event manager, met Westerwelle in 2003, according to the German newspaper Bild.Westerwelle believes that Germany is becoming more accepting of gays and lesbians and hopes that the younger generation recognizes the progress. "I can only tell all young gays and lesbians to not be disheartened if not everything goes their way," Westerwelle told the Berlin gay magazine Siegessaeule.
"This society is changing for the good in the direction of tolerance and respect ... though slower than I would wish."Merkel expects the negotiations to move quickly and wants the new government formed by November 9, the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.