Tasmanian gay advocates have hailed fellow local and outgoing Greens senator Bob Brown as one of Australia’s “great gay heroes”.

Brown today announced his resignation from leadership of the party and his seat in the Senate.

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group (TGLRG) spokesman Rodney Croome said Brown, as the first publicly-out gay man in Tasmania and the first openly-gay politician in Australia, was an important role model.

“Bob Brown’s charm, erudition, bravery and compassion, and most of all his pride in being gay in face of deep prejudice, have made him a beacon for three generations of gay and lesbian people in Tasmania and across the nation,” Croome said.

“All of us owe Bob a debt of gratitude for the rights we have, for the acceptance we enjoy, and for the hope we have of a better future.”

Croome also welcomed the election of Senator Christine Milne as the new party leader.

“In my long experience working with Christine Milne I have found her to be one of the nation’s most effective, fearless and dedicated advocates for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality,” Croome said.

“It was Christine Milne whose legislation finally removed criminal laws against homosexuality in Tasmania, and I’m hopeful it will be under Christine Milne’s leadership that Australia will achieve marriage equality.”

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