Haven't we come a long way? This week Ireland's president Mary McAleese was awarded the 2011 'most gay friendly politician in Ireland' award by GALAS (Irish Gay and Lesbian Awards).

Her acceptance speech was classic McAleese: informed, heartfelt, genuinely supportive and speaking as a president for all of the Irish people.

She will be a very tough act to follow. I hope the Irish public will keep her example in mind when they go to the polls to elect a new president on Friday.

With the support of her husband Martin, McAleese's presidential style was quietly self-effacing, so much so that it's startling to recognize how transformative it actually was.


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