karoutchiRoger Karoutchi, France’s Secretary of State for Parliamentary Relations and a close friend of President Nicholas Sarkozy, has revealed he is gay. The former MEP and senator made the claim in an interview conducted in advance of the release of his autobiography.

Pink News reports:

“I have a partner and I’m happy with him. As I’m happy, I see no reason why I should hide that.”

Mr Karoutchi becomes the first openly gay minister in France.

The Mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe, is one of the few out gay people in French politics and is a possible candidate for the Presidency in 2012.

Unlike the UK, the French press rarely report on the personal lives of politicians.

During his 2007 Presidential campaign Mr Sarkozy made some positive references to gay rights, though he reiterated his opposition to gay marriage.