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Obama nominates two more openly gay men to diplomatic posts

Friday, June 21, 2013

WASHINGTON – The White House on Friday announced the nominations of John Berry to be the U.S. Ambassador to Australia, and James “Wally” Brewster, Jr., to be the U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, bringing to five the number of openly LGBT ambassador nominations this month.

John Berry (left) and James “Wally” Brewster

John Berry is the former Director of the Office of Personnel Management from April 2009 to April 2013, and was the highest ranking openly-LGBT official to serve in the Obama administration.

Previously, Berry served as the Director of the Smithsonian National Zoological Park and the Executive Director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. He received his B.A. from the University of Maryland, College Park, and an MPA from Syracuse University.

James “Wally” Brewster, Jr. is the Senior Managing Partner for SB&K Global, a brand strategy and consumer dynamics consulting firm based in Chicago. Brewster is a National LGBT Co-Chair for the Democratic National Committee and currently serves on the Board of the Human Rights Campaign Fund.

If confirmed by the Senate, Berry and Brewster would bolster the limited ranks of ambassadors in U.S. history who have been openly LGBT. When Obama took office in 2009, only two previous ambassadors had been openly gay. Friday’s nominations mark the seventh and eighth appointments.

“John Berry has been a devoted public servant for thirty years, and will bring tremendous experience to our embassy in Canberra,” said Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign, in a statement. “His lifetime of professional experiences make him an outstanding choice to be the nation’s next Ambassador to Australia.”

On Brewster, Griffin said “his global business and management expertise is matched by his enthusiasm and commitment to human rights and democracy around the world.”

“Wally’s political intelligence and work in public affairs and communications make would make him a valuable contribution to our nation’s diplomatic efforts,” said Griffin.

Last week, Obama nominated Rufus Gifford, his former campaign finance director, to be U.S. Ambassador to Denmark; James Costos, a vice president of HBO, as his envoy to Spain; and Daniel Baer, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, to be ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

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13 more reader comments:

  1. “I’ll take ‘Hot Ginger Ambassadors’ for $1000, please, Alex.”

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 2:21pm

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 2:35pm
  3. A good thing, for sure.

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 2:36pm
  4. A good thing, for sure, balances some of the not so good things he’s done lately.

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 2:36pm
  5. Hooray!

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 2:42pm
  6. leader of the free world is probably a more difficult job than you imagine, Adrian.

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 2:42pm
  7. Wow!

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 3:02pm
  8. omg, gay ambassador coming to DR :)

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 3:16pm
  9. And they’re HOT. Way to go.

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 3:21pm
  10. The fact that Obama is a mass murderer, and spy’s on everybody in the world means nothing. He hired some gay guys!!!

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 6:34pm
  11. You mean spying on every person in the world? You mean killing children with drone strikes?

    Hiring a gay person makes up for murder of children?

    Your priorities are seriously fucked up.

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 6:35pm
  12. Thank you for your courage, President Obama!

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 7:14pm
  13. Right on cue… why is it every time this page writes something about Obama doing something good for the LGBT community, there’s some dumbshit that has to go off on drones. Yeah, I mean you Robert Friel. Go fuck yourself and crawl back under a rock until 2016, so you can vote for whatever bigoted asshole the GOP nominates. Troll.

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 7:35pm