Last week, on April 1, San Marino appointed the first openly gay head of state in the world when Paolo Rondelli became one of two captains regent in the country. This represents such a big step forward for LGBTQ+ rights and visibility, especially considering that less than 20 years ago homosexuality was illegal in San Marino.
Although the world has already witnessed the appointment of LGBTQ+ prime ministers, such as Leo Varadkar in Ireland and Ana Brnabić in Serbia, this is the very first time in history that an openly gay man was appointed as head of state.
In San Marino, one of the few medieval European city-states to have survived until today in the middle of central Italy, homosexuality was decriminalised only in 2004. Another step forward in the promotion of LGBTQ+ rights was taken in 2016 when a law was passed to legally recognise same-sex couples.
#SanMarino è, da oggi, il primo Paese al mondo con un capo di Stato apertamente gay. Paolo Rondelli è infatti diventato uno dei due nuovi capitani reggenti, capi di Stato che non hanno poteri esecutivi e che restano in carica per sei mesi #1aprile #LGBT pic.twitter.com/dcGXcs83dN
— radio_zek (@radio_zek) April 1, 2022
Now, San Marino has appointed Paolo Rondelli as one of its two captains regent, the highest elected officials in the country. The other captain regent is Oscar Mina, who previously held the role in 2009. They will both hold office for six months, though they will not hold executive power.
Rondelli was a deputy in San Marino’s parliament and had previously been an ambassador to the US. During his whole career, he has been an outspoken activist for LGBTQ+ rights, also serving as vice-president for LGBTQ+ organisation Arcigay Rimini.
In light of his appointment and of the situation of LGBTQ+ rights in neighbouring Italy, the association released a statement saying: “It is to be hoped that Italy will take an example from this path of civil progress and rights. We thank him for his service in favor of the LGBT community and for his uninterrupted cultural battle and for the rights of all“.
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