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5 Apr 2022

San Marino appoints world's first openly gay head of state

The world's oldest republic is setting the pace.

The world’s oldest republic has established itself as among the most progressive after naming the world’s first openly gay head of state.
San Marino, the medieval micro-state surrounded on all sides by the rolling hills of central Italy, has appointed 58-year-old Paolo Rondelli as one of two captains regent, its heads of state.
Rondelli is a deputy in the Great and General Council, San Marino’s parliament, and he was the country’s ambassador to the US for nine years, ending in 2016. In addition to his roles with the state, Rondelli has been an outspoken LGBT activist.
Though the captains regent are San Marino’s highest elected officials, they do not hold executive power. The other captain regent, Oscar Mina, previously held the role in 2009. Both men will serve six-month terms.
San Marino was founded in the year 301 and is one of only a handful of medieval European city states that have survived to the present day, along with Andorra, Liechtenstein and Monaco. It is home to fewer than 35,000 citizens.
Luxembourg’s prime minister, Xavier Bettel, and the Serbian prime minister, Ana Brnabić, count among gay heads of government, but Rondelli is the first openly gay head of state.
The appointment is a significant step for San Marino, where homosexuality was punishable by jail time until 2004. It fits into a broad trend that includes legal recognition of gay couples in 2016 and legalised abortion since last year.
“San Marino had previously started on a path of a profound revolution on the subject of rights,” said Arcigay Rimini, a gay rights organisation in the Italian city of Rimini, less than 10 miles from San Marino. “This path, seen from the point of view of bogged-down Italy [where an anti-homophobic violence bill was voted down in the senate last year] is astounding.”

San Marino - the world's oldest republic - has named the world's first openly gay head of state.

Paolo Rondelli - the 58-year-old former ambassador to the US - has been appointed as one of two captains regent, the head of state of San Marino.

Founded in the year 301, San Marino is a medieval micro-state - located amidst the hills of central Italy. San Marino is home to 35,000 people.

As well as excelling in his political career, Rondelli has been a consistent advocate for LGBTQ equality.

While there are already LGBTQ heads of government - Xavier Bettel in Luxembourg and Ana Brnabic in Serbia - Rondelli is the first openly gay head of state.

What's life like for LGBTQ people in San Marino?

What’s life like for LGBTQ people in San Marino? Let’s take a look at some of the key equality indicators.

Is homosexuality legal in San Marino?

Yes. Same-sex sexual activity was decriminalised in 2004.

Are there anti-discrimination protections in place for LGBTQ people in San Marino?

Yes. Protections against discrimination on the grounds of sexuality have been in place since 2008.

Is there Marriage Equality in San Marino?

Not quite. Since 2018, there has been legal recognition of same-sex relationships, but it’s not quite Marriage Equality.

What’s life like for LGBTQ people in San Marino?

San Marino population is small, and the country has been slow to make progress on LGBTQ Equality. However, much has been achieved in recent years and the appointment of a gay head of state is a huge boost for visibility.

Reader's Comments

1. 2022-04-06 21:44
You forgot to mention the former prime minister of Belgium, Elio Di Rupo. Government 2011-2014.

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