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Australia gets its first openly gay Chief Minister

December 11, 2014

An Australian Labor Party politician has become the country’s first openly gay government leader.

Andrew Barr was appointed Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) on Thursday replacing Katy Gallagher who resigned last week.

In his acceptance speech to the ACT Legislative Assembly Mr Barr paid tribute to his partner and said he looked forward to the day when they could legally marry in Australia.

“Anthony, I love you,” the new Chief Minister said.

“I look forward to the day we can legally marry in this country.”

“Canberra is Australia’s most LGBTI-friendly city,” Mr Barr told ABC in reference to the nation’s capital Canberra, which is in the ACT.

“We are inclusive and we strive to ensure that all of our citizens are treated equally and I look forward to the day when we can say that about our country.”

Mr Barr entered into a civil union with Anthony Toms in 2009, after being elected to the ACT Legislative Assembly in 2006.

He campaigned to change the Labor Party’s national platform, in favour of same-sex marriage.

Australia has had several gay MPs in important roles, however no openly LGBT person has held the office of Chief Minister, Premier or Prime Minister.

Federal attempts to pass same-sex marriage failed in 2012.

The ACT was the first state or territory to allow same-sex marriage when it passed legislation last year, but the High Court later struck down the law and ruled that the Federal Parliament must vote in favour.

Prime Minister and Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott has refused to back a free vote for his MPs on an upcoming same-sex marriage bill.

Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm introduced a Freedom to Marry Private Members’ Bill last month.

 

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