Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Chain Males : Part 4 - Europe

We turn to continental Europe for the latest in mini-series on lgbt mayors. I have identified 28 male gay or bisexual mayors so far. Below is the list and below that is a map their distribution.

There have also been 3 female mayors which I listed in the first of these mayoral articles. Also not included are 7 gay male mayors who have served as Deputy Mayor. Mayors in the UK will be dealt with in December.

Once again the methods by which the mayors were appointed varies. Some are directly elected, some are appointed, but all are voted on to their respective authorities by public vote.

Elio de Rupo – Mayor of Mons since 2001.
Klaus Bondam – Mayor of Technical and Environment, 2006-9, and Employment since 2010, Copenhagen.
Søren Pepe Poulsen – Mayor of Viborg 2010-14.
Luc Carvounas – Mayor of Alfortville since 2012.
Bertrand Delanoë – Mayor of Paris 2001-14.
André Labarrére – Mayor of Pau 1971-2006.
Michael Adam – Mayor of Bodenmais 2008-11.
Michael Ebling – Mayor of Mainz since 2012.
Sven Gerich – Mayor of Wiesbaden since 2013.
Thomas Kufen – Lord Mayor of Essen since 2015.
Ole von Beust – First Mayor of Hamburg 2001-10.
Klaus Wowereit – Governing Mayor of Berlin 2001-14.
Cian O’Callaghan – Mayor of Fingal County 2012-14.
Fintan Warfield – Mayor of South Dublin County 2014-5.
Rosario Crocetta – Mayor of Gela 2003-9.
Xavier Bettel – Mayor of Luxembourg City 2011-13.
Karl Gouder – Mayor of St. Julian’s since 2015.
Jan Franssen – Mayor of Zwolle 1994-2000.
Onno Hoes – Mayor of Maastricht 2010-15.
Ger Koopmans – Acting Mayor of Stein 2013.
Sjoerd Potters – Mayor of De Bilt since April 2017.
Roland van Benthem – Mayor of Eemnes since 2005.
Erling Lae – Governing Mayor of Oslo 2000-9.
Robert Biedron – Mayor of Słupsk since 2014.
Francisco Maroto – Mayor of Campillo de Ranas since 2003.
Javier Maroto – Mayor of Vitoria-Gasteiz 2011-15.
Jerónimo Saavedra – Mayor of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, 2007-11.
Santi Vila – Mayor of Figueres 2007-11.

Several of these male mayors have gone on to hold higher office, occasionally the highest elected office in their nation. Two have become Prime Ministers (Elio di Rupo and Xavier Betel). In addition two have become president of their provincial governments (Rosario Crocetta and Jerónimo Saavedra). Virtually all of them have become members of their national parliaments at some time.

The municipalities and councils to which these gay mayors belong range from national capitals to rural villages. We can go from one extreme to the other. The largest is Berlin with a population of almost 3.5 million. The smallest is a municipality which has made the most significant contribution to lgbt rights by its entire population.

The small municipality of Campillo de Ranas, 78 miles north of Madrid, consists of 8 tiny villages with a total population of less than 300. In 2003 Francisco Maroto was elected mayor. In one of those quirks of history it is because Francisco was the right man in the right place at the right time that he is still in office today.

In 2005 Spain legalised same-sex marriage. There hadn’t been a marriage of any kind in Campillo de Rana for 35 years. Francisco was aware that there were many Spanish mayors, all of whom can conduct marriages, were not enthusiastic about conducting same-sex weddings. Mayor Francisco took the deliberate decision to promote his village as a venue for gay weddings.

Heterosexual weddings were also welcomed, and themed ceremonies became very popular. Within 3 years Mayor Francisco had conducted over 100 weddings of which 32 were same-sex couples. In 2008 he even celebrated his wedding to Quique Fernandez in the village.

Once the reputation of Campillo de Ranas spread across Spain more visitors and tourists arrive and the local economy boomed, based on the income from weddings. The village church roof was repaired, and the old village school was reopened after 30 years. More importantly, for the younger generations, mobile phone coverage arrived in the village.

The wider community recognises the achievements made in his community by Francisco Maroto. At this year’s World Pride in Madrid he was lauded as a national pioneer of same-sex weddings. Because of his success in Campillo de Ranas other Spanish villages and towns welcomed more same-sex couples.

In my final Chain Males article in December we’ll look at male gay mayors in the UK, including the two gay men who were the only mayors in the entire history of their town council.

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