March 25, 2014 | by Michael K. Lavers
Gay U.S. ambassador, husband meet with Dominican president

James Wally Brewster, United States Department of State, Dominican Republic, gay news, Washington Blade

U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic James “Wally” Brewster (Photo public domain)

Gay U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic James “Wally” Brewster and his husband on Monday attended a diplomatic reception with the country’s president that had initially been postponed.

Blabbeando reported that Brewster and Bob Satawake were among those who met with President Danilo Medina and his wife, Cándida Montilla de Medina, at a hotel in Santo Domingo, the Caribbean country’s capital.

Medina’s office tweeted a picture of him and Montilla with Brewster and Satawake.

Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, the Vatican’s envoy to the Dominican Republic, did not invite Satawake to the reception with Medina that had originally been scheduled to take place in January under the pretense the country’s Constitution defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Okolo postponed the event after a number of ambassadors said they would not attend because he did not invite Brewster’s husband.

Okolo is among those who joined Brewster and Satawake and others at the Monday reception with Medina and his wife.

Brewster has faced criticism from Dominican religious figures who oppose his ambassadorship because of his sexual orientation.

Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez of the Archdiocese of Santo Domingo last June referred to Brewster as a “maricón” or “faggot” in Spanish during a press conference. Rev. Luís Rosario of the Santo Domingo Youth Ministry last month said he feels the gay ambassador is a “bad example” for Dominican society and families.

The State Department said Brewster was unable to speak with the Blade earlier this month in Santo Domingo. The former member of the Human Rights Campaign board of directors and his husband in January gave an exclusive interview to Ritmo Social, a society magazine published by Listín Diario, a conservative Dominican newspaper.

“I was chosen by President Obama to represent his government and the American people as a reflection of our country, its diversity and its mission,” Brewster told the magazine. “I am committed to serving this ideal.”

Brewster and Satawake last month met with a group of Dominican LGBT rights advocates at the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo. Both Listín Diario and Ritmo Social recently published pictures of the couple at an Elton John concert they attended at Altos de Chavón near Casa de Campo on Feb. 28.

Dominican Vice President Margarita Cedeño de Fernández last week withdrew a controversial proposal that would have amended the country’s Family Code to champion what the newspaper 7 Días described as Catholic families comprised of a man, a woman and their children.

“There is more discussion of [LGBT] issues,” Marianela Carvajal of Republika Libre told the Blade earlier this month in Santo Domingo as she discussed the impact she feels Brewster has had on the Dominican LGBT rights movement. “There has been an opportunity to highlight our issues.”

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

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