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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 3, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 18
Iceland's Lesbian prime minister retires
Section One
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Iceland's Lesbian prime minister retires

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Iceland's openly Lesbian prime minister, Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir, retired from politics on April 26, the day before her country's general election. The LGBT rights group Samtökin 78 presented her with a bouquet of flowers in rainbow colors to honor her work for Gay rights.

Sigurdardóttir became the world's first out Lesbian head of state and Iceland's first woman prime minister in February 2009, when she took over the government after the previous prime minister resigned in disgrace in the wake of the country's financial collapse.

Iceland's voters ratified her appointment two months later, giving her the task of fixing the country's financial crisis.

Popularly known as 'St. Johanna' after St. Joan of Arc, Sigurdardóttir restored Iceland's economic stability and in June 2010 legalized same-sex marriage. Shortly after the new marriage law took effect, Sigurdardóttir married her long-time domestic partner, Jónína Leósdóttir. Each woman had two teenaged children from previous marriages.

NUDE DANCING OUTLAWED
Sigurdardóttir's government banned strip clubs and other forms of adult entertainment in an effort to advance women's rights. She also oversaw an overhaul of the Icelandic constitution with the help of civil society groups and an assembly of 1,200 ordinary citizens.

First elected to Parliament in 1978, Sigurdardóttir was Iceland's minister of Social Affairs and Social Security from 1987 to 1994 and again from 2007 to 2009.

While she remained personally popular, her center-left Social Democratic Alliance lost the April 27 election to a center-right coalition headed by the conservative Independence Party.

Icelandic surnames are typically patronymics rather than family names. Thus, Sigurdardóttir is the daughter of Sigurdur. Her former husband, Thorvaldur Steinar Jóhanesson, was the son of Jóhan, and their two sons are named Sigurdur Egill and Davíd Steinar.

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