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Chile elects first openly gay lawmaker

Christian Democratic Party candidate Claudio Arriagada became the first openly gay man to be elected to the national Chamber of Deputies on Sunday after coming out in August as a pro-gay rights coalition looks set to take power
Claudio Arrigada
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Claudio Arriagada has become the first openly gay man to be elected to national office in Chile.

Arrigada stood as a candidate for Chile’s Christian Democratic Party and only came out in August.

Arrigada was previously the mayor of La Granja, Santiago Province, but felt the need to come out in running for Congress out of fear his sexual orientation would be used against him.

‘This condition always makes you vulnerable and can be used to threaten you,’ Arrigada said in coming out in August.

Chile’s Christian Democratic Party forms part of former president Michelle Bachelet’s New Majority coalition which looks set to retake government following Sunday’s election.

Bachelete, a moderate socialist and supporter of same-sex marriage, received 47% of the vote compared to conservative candidate Evelyn Matthei's 25% – not enough to avoid a run off vote but a good indication she will win government.

Chilean society was shocked by the brutal slaying of gay man Daniel Zamudio last year and his killers were sentenced last month - one to life in prison, two others to 15 years jail and another to 7 years jail for their roles in the murder.

His killing prompted the government to pass a national hate crime law protecting LGBTs for the first time in Chile.

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