Latvian foreign minister Edgars Rinkevics comes out as gay on Twitter

RIGA (AFP) - Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics has become the first high-ranking politician in his country and the Baltic states to come out publicly as being gay, in a series of tweets.

"I proudly announce I am gay... Good luck all of you," he said late Thursday in a tweet that has since gone viral.

"Our country must create a legal framework for all types of partnerships, I will fight for it, I know that there will immediately be mega-hysteria but #Proudtobegay", he had tweeted moments earlier in Latvian, followed by the English-language hashtag.

Rinkevics, 41, had been the object of whispering campaigns regarding his sexuality, most recently during the run up to October's parliamentary elections.

His announcement is likely to be contentious in the Baltic state of 2 million, where events such as gay pride parades attract hundreds of predominantly Christian opponents.

Latvia is one of three Baltic states including Lithuania and Estonia that joined the European Union in 2004 after breaking free from the crumbling Soviet Union in 1990-91.