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Belgium’s Prime Minister: World’s 1st Openly Gay Male Prime Minister

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Thursday Dec 8, 2011
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Elio di Rupo, a French-speaking Socialist, will soon become Belgium’s first openly gay prime minister, reported NASDAQ in a Dec. 5 article.

Di Rupo, 60, is also the first French-speaking Belgium to be elected Prime Minister in 32 years. In addition, di Rupo is the head of the French-speaking Socialist Party of Belgium and mayor of the southern city of Mons.

"My first words are for the citizens" Di Rupo said last week. "I want to thank them for their patience ... together, we need to roll up our sleeves and get this country out of crisis."

Belgium became the second country in the world to legalize gay marriage in 2003. Same-sex couples have the same rights as heterosexual couples. For instance, they are allowed to adopt children, which was legalized in 2006, and can openly serve in the military. The country has a number of discrimination laws based on sexual orientation that protects members of the LGBT community as well.

Europe is no stranger when it comes to openly gay leaders, however. The mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, is openly gay and has been mayor since 2001. Prior to being elected, he infamously coined the phrase "I’m gay, and that’s also a good thing."

In 2009, Iceland elected the world’s first openly gay head of a nation’s government, Prime Minister Johanna Siguroardottir. In an EDGE article, it was reported that Sigurdardottir, 68, married her longtime partner, Jonina Leosdottir, in 2010. (Gay marriage is legal in the island nation.)

Paris’ mayor Bertrand Delanoe, who was elected in 2001, announced that he was gay in a 1998 television interview. At the time of his election he made Paris the largest city with an openly gay mayor.

The U.S. has a number of openly gay elected officials, such as the mayor of Houston, Annise Parker. The Associated Press reported that Parker said her election marked a milestone for gay citizens.

"I spoke on election night of that being an historic election, and my election made news all around the world," she said. "Now, Houstonians weren’t very surprised they elected a gay woman. We have a tradition of electing mayors not for who they are but for what they believe we can do as a city."

Christine Quinn is currently the Speaker of the New York City Council and the first openly gay speaker. A Nov. 26 EDGE article reported that Quinn is expected to run for mayor in 2013.

As for Di Rupo, his sexuality was a non-issue in his appointment by the Belgian king. More controversial was his bad Dutch. In a nation deeply divided by language, the northern part, Flanders, resents anyone from Wallonia, the French-speaking southern part, not speaking their (very different) language.

The tiny nation, which houses the headquarters of the European Union, has been threatened of late with partition because of the cultural differences between the two lingual regions.

Comments

  • Jonathan Willner, 2011-12-10 12:24:24

    And we’ve got Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum running for president. Is this a fucked up country or what?!


  • Anonymous, 2011-12-11 21:09:20

    Elio’s homosexuality has never been an issue, sure being gay everybody’s got a joke on him and on gay people but he gets the votes and I’m happy we’ll have a frog oops I mean francophone leading the government, there is Belgian French and French French in France, like there English in the U.S. and English English in the U.K.. France and the U.K. don’t have SSM. The Flemish: they speak languages, they speak German, French and English, it is similar to German but it is not the same language, the Flemish language is not understood in the Netherlands or South Africa where they speak Afrikaans. What upsets me is that NYT reps in Belgium will associate with Flemish people and not French or Wallonian speaking people since the Flemish can blubber English and the French don’t that is generally speaking


  • Anonymous, 2011-12-11 21:24:47

    To gag’em. You don’t think those idiots stand a chance to be elected do you? I was in for Hilary as president not Obama the reason was that she knew the stuff having been there before with her hubbie the flute player. So in my opinion there is an armed revolution which right now is out of the question, so the only other way is voting democrat and of course I like OWS.


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