The City of Sydney’s two gay councillors, Phillip Black and Shayne Mallard, have been chosen to participate in San Francisco’s 38th LGBT Pride celebration next month at the invitation of the Bay City’s Mayor Gavin Newsom.

A float celebrating the sister-city relationship will be included in the 28-29 June Pride parade. San Francisco supervisors have also offered to help organise a special exhibit on the historical ties linking the two cities’ LGBT communities for next year’s Mardi Gras festival.

It is important that San Francisco and Sydney continue to provide opportunities for our city officials and citizens to experience and explore our respective cultures through long-term partnerships and frequent exchanges, Newsom wrote to Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

Newsom extended the invitation to Moore following the visit by San Francisco delegates during this year’s Mardi Gras festival. However, Moore was not able to attend and proposed Black and Mallard take the four-day trip in her place.

The invitation also coincides with the 40-year anniversary of the sister-city relationship, and 30 years ago two San Francisco activists invited Sydney gay and lesbian activists to take part in an International Day of Gay Solidarity.

Newsom gained international attention in 2004 when he authorised 4,000 same-sex weddings in defiance of US and Californian marriage laws. Television personality Rosie O’Donnell and her partner Kelli Carpenter were among the couples who married before the state Supreme Court overruled the mayor.

The council is expected to approve the councillors’ trip costing $20,260 on Monday.

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