Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Broward County swears in first openly gay mayor

From the Desk of King in Miami
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Article Courtesy of Miami Herald

Broward County's first openly gay mayor was sworn in to office Tuesday. His new role was celebrated by gay and lesbian activists.

Growing up, Ken Keechl was always fascinated by politics, but thought he could never get elected as an openly gay man. Tuesday morning, Keechl, 47, raised his right hand as he was sworn in as Broward County's first openly gay mayor. For the next year, he will preside over the dais of Florida's second-most populous county (1.8 million residents).

``Whether you know it or not, your vote to make me Broward's mayor was historic in America -- but that's a discussion for another day, in another venue,'' Keechl said at the swearing-in ceremony at Broward County Hall.

Keechl was selected by his fellow commissioners. The job of mayor rotates each year among them.

``We've waited so long for this day to come,'' said Michael Albetta, president of the Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus. ``We're honored and pleased that the eight other county commissioners see his professionalism and are not judging him on his personal lifestyle.'' Keechl, a Democrat, was first elected in 2006 when he trumped veteran Republican politician Jim Scott for the District 4 seat. He had previously built a name for himself as an activist in the gay and lesbian community and for protesting large-scale development.

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