"She began her political career as a union organizer with the national airline, now known as Icelandair, where she had worked more than 30 years ago as a flight attendant. She has two sons with her former husband, a banker, and six grandchildren. Ms. Sigurdardottir established a civil partnership in 2002 with Jonina Leosdottir, 54, an author, playwright and journalist. She, too, is a divorced mother.
Although Ms. Sigurdardottir’s rise has drawn widespread attention on Web sites for gay men and lesbians outside Iceland, her relationship is considered unremarkable at home. In 1940, while still a dependency of Denmark, Iceland decriminalized gay sex. It approved civil partnerships for gay and lesbian couples in 1996, one of the first countries to do so.
“Iceland is a small society, and the public knows what Sigurdardottir stands for as a politician, and that’s the only thing that is important,” said Frosti Jonsson, a spokesman for Iceland’s National Association of Queers. “Nowadays, not only does Iceland have one of the most progressive legal environments for gay people, there have also been changes in public attitudes towards gay people. It simply isn’t an issue anymore.”
The Advocatereminds of only one other instance of openly gay politician serving a prime-minister position (not appointed, but “acting prime minister”): Norway finance minister Per-Kristian Foss, who is gay, was that country’s acting prime minister for a brief period in 2002 while both the prime minister and foreign minister were traveling abroad.