Role models of greatness.

Here you will discover the back stories of kings, titans of industry, stellar athletes, giants of the entertainment field, scientists, politicians, artists and heroes – all of them gay or bisexual men. If their lives can serve as role models to young men who have been bullied or taught to think less of themselves for their sexual orientation, all the better. The sexual orientation of those featured here did not stand in the way of their achievements.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Per-Kristian Foss

On January 4, 2002, Per-Kristian Foss (b. 1950), Norwegian Finance Minister of the Conservative Party (Høyre), entered into a registered same sex partnership with his long-term partner Jan Erik Knarbakk, a top manager of Schibsted, a media conglomerate. Foss, shown at left in photo, thus became the world’s first cabinet level official to marry a same sex partner. The two men have often been described in the news media as being among Norway's most powerful couples.

Tantalizingly, Foss became the first openly gay head of state on January 25, 2002, when he was temporarily installed as acting prime minister when the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister (second in the line of succession) were both out of the country.

Foss was elected to the Norwegian Parliament from Oslo in 1981, and was subsequently re-elected on six occasions. At present Foss is deputy chairman of  Høyre (the Conservative Party) and a member of the party's central board.

The couple entered into a legally binding partnership at the Norwegian embassy in Stockholm, Sweden, on January 4, 2002, when Foss was 52 years old. The openly gay couple reside in Oslo's fashionable Frogner district.

In 1993 Norway became the second country in the world, after Denmark, to allow gay and lesbian partnerships. Norwegians have a reputation of being tolerant of homosexuals and respectful towards the private life of public figures. The local media only briefly mentioned the wedding.

Foss, at left wearing glasses, with partner Jan Erik Knarbakk.

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