France has appointed a gay-friendly politician as head of France's Arab World Institute, or the Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA).
Former Culture Minister Jack Lang, known to support gay rights as early as the 1970s, will now run the Institute that promotes dialogue between France and Arab nations.
The IMA, devoted to Arab art, performances and educational programs, was founded in Paris in 1980 by 18 Arab countries as a research hub on Arab culture and spirituality. Many of the Institute's member states are countries where homosexuality is still illegal.
Lang has been vocal in his support of pro-gay legislation in France. He joined in a 2008 gay pride parade in Paris and spoke favorably on a French television about marriage equality and adoption by same-sex parents.
In an interview last year with French newspaper Le Figaro, Lang said he was 'optimistic' about the legalization of gay marriage and hopeful about same-sex parents adopting children.
In the same interview he said: 'France has changed a lot. It is inconceivable that France continues to stand apart from the movement of humanity'.