An openly gay minister is considered the frontrunner to replace Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, who is expected to step down before Easter.

Calls for Kenny to resign as party leader came in the wake of his involvement in a scandal surrounding a whistleblower. A new leader is expected to be elected after Kenny makes a state visit to the United States to meet President Donald Trump on March 17, St. Patrick's Day, according to iNews.

Thirty-eight-year-old Leo Varadkar, the son of an Indian father and Irish mother, is the leading contender to replace Kenny as party leader and Taoiseach, or prime minister.

If elected, Varadkar, currently the minister of social protection, would become Ireland's first openly gay and ethnic minority prime minister.

Belgium and Iceland have had openly gay heads of state, while Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel in 2015 became the first European Union leader to marry a person of the same sex while in office.