Recently appointed openly gay U.S. ambassador to Australia weds

DAN LITTAUER [e]Special to LGBTQ Nation[m]

CANBERRA, Australia — John Berry, recently appointed U.S. ambassador to Australia, married Curtis Yee, his partner of 17 years, in a private marriage ceremony at St Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Washington D.C. on Saturday.

Courtesy photo
John Berry (left) marries his longtime partner, Curtis Yee (second from right) in Washington D.C. on Aug. 10, 2013.

Berry, 54, is the first openly gay U.S. ambassador to serve in a G-20 nation. He 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.

Yee is an attorney and native of Hawaii.

“The wedding was attended by family and close friends, including the Secretary of the Department of Interior, who then celebrated after the service at the home of Mr. Yee and Mr. Berry,” according to a media statement.

Berry, who has yet arrive to arrive to Australia, was praised by Australian Marriage Equality national convener Rodney Croome, who said: “It’s a happy time when any couple marries and I congratulate John Berry and Curtis Lee on their special day and wish them well for their married life together.”

“It will be a source of deep embarrassment for many Australians that our law fails to respect the marriage of the chief representative of our closest friend and ally, the United States,” added Croome.

Croome said the recent commitment by Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to introduce marriage equality in his first 100 days, if reelected, gives him hope reform will happen soon and Ambassador Berry’s marriage will be recognized.

Berry is one of four openly gay diplomats appointed by Obama this year, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on August 1.

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