June 29, 2015 at 11:00 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
U.S. officials take part in global Pride events

Vietnam, gay news, Washington Blade

The rainbow flag flew over U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius’ official residence in Hanoi after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled same-sex couples can marry in all 50 states. (Photo courtesy of Clayton Bond)

U.S. officials around the world took part in Pride celebrations this past weekend amid continued celebrations over the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that extended marriage rights to same-sex couples throughout the country.

U.S. Ambassador to Chile Mike Hammer is among the tens of thousands of people who took part in an LGBT Pride march in the South American country’s capital on Saturday.

U.S. Ambassador to U.K. Matthew Barzun took part in London’s annual Pride march on Sunday. U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert is among those who attended an LGBT Pride festival in Seoul earlier in the day that Christian groups unsuccessfully tried to block.

U.S. Ambassador to Germany John Emerson on Saturday joined other foreign diplomats who opened Berlin’s Christopher Street Parade.

“Today marriage equality is the law of the land in the United States of America,” said Emerson. “This is a victory for people who have marched and fought and bled and died for decade after decade in the United States and around the world for LGBT rights.”

Gay U.S. Ambassador to Spain and Andorra James Costos on Saturday noted during an event in Madrid to commemorate July 4 that this year marks a decade since same-sex marriage became legal in the country.

“Spain clearly led the way on this issue,” wrote Costos in an op-ed that El Mundo, a Spanish newspaper, published on its website. “Despite broad social acceptance and some of the most progressive laws in the world, there is still anti-LGBT discrimination.”

The U.S. Consulate in Munich is among the American diplomatic posts that flew the rainbow flag in celebration of Pride month. The U.S. Embassy in Vietnam hoisted the LGBT emblem after the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision in the marriage case.

Secretary of State John Kerry in a statement he issued on Friday noted he voted against the Defense of Marriage Act as a member of the U.S. Senate.

“I voted against the Defense of Marriage Act for a simple reason: No law should deny the right of gay and lesbian Americans to marry the person they love,” he said. “Today, by making marriage equality the law of the land, the Supreme Court reaffirmed one of our founding principles — and our highest ideal — that we are all created equal.”

“The court’s decision also sends a clear message to every corner of the globe: no law that rests on a foundation of discrimination can withstand the tide of justice,” added Kerry, noting the appointment of Randy Berry earlier this year as the country’s first special envoy to promote LGBT rights around the world. “We will continue that work, proud of the progress we’ve made in our own country and mindful of the challenges that still need to be overcome.”

Jamaican newspaper: Marriage ruling ‘courageous’

LGBT rights advocates maintain the U.S. Supreme Court ruling will bolster same-sex marriage efforts in their respective countries.

“It’s a momentous and important decision, and the United States joins a small but growing number of countries in the Americas — north, central and south—recognizing marriage equality,” Tracy Robinson, a member of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which operates through the Washington-based Organization of American States, told the Washington Blade after the justices announced their decision. “Though I should also add that for thousands of LGBT persons throughout the Americas poverty, violence and access to justice, health care, shelter and decent work remain urgent and often still not sufficiently visible human rights concerns.”

Trinidad and Tobago Attorney General Garvin Nicholas told the Sunday Express, a newspaper in the Caribbean island nation, that he respects “the U.S. and it’s Supreme Court, which rules on matters pertinent to the U.S.”

“Trinidad and Tobago is a different nation with its own laws which reflect our diverse societal norms and values,” he said. “These matters have attracted much debate and will no doubt continue to so do. It is not an issue to be pronounced on unilaterally.”

Peruvian President Ollanta Humala on Saturday made a similar point, telling reporters in the South American country that each country “has its own realities and something that works in one country can necessarily work in our country or vice versa.”

Humala made his comments on the same day that thousands of people took part in an annual Pride celebration in the Peruvian capital of Lima. They also come against the backdrop of the ongoing debate over a bill that would allow same-sex couples to enter into civil unions in the socially conservative South American country.

Lima Archbishop Juan Luís Cipriani on Saturday described the ruling as “tragic” and an example of “imperialism” and “colonialism.”

“This decision, to me is really tragic for the U.S.,” he said on RPP Noticias, a Peruvian television station. “The most serious thing about it to me is that it promotes a new structure, after centuries, that can only destroy what God wanted and what has worked normally.”

The Moscow Times reported that a spokesperson for the Russian Orthodox Church described the ruling as a “godless and sinful thing,” while warning the Obama administration wants to impose its values upon other countries. Rev. Rennard White, president of the Jamaica Umbrella Group of Churches, also criticized U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage decision in an interview with a Jamaican newspaper.

“If it is anything else it is an arrangement, not a marriage, but in fact a misnomer,” he told the Jamaican Observer. “It was never a part of the divine mandate. From a Biblical perspective there is no such acknowledgement of this type of arrangement.”

The Jamaica Gleaner, the country’s largest newspaper, on Sunday took a different view.

It described the ruling as “courageous” in an editorial. The Jamaica Gleaner also urged lawmakers in the country to address pervasive discrimination that LGBT Jamaicans continue to face.

“As uncomfortable as this may be for some of us, this issue, at its core, is the matter of fundamental human rights, including the right to human dignity and for individuals to exercise their right to choice, especially when that right does not impinge on the rights of others,” it wrote.

The U.S. Embassy in Jamaica on Friday retweeted a video clip of Obama applauding the marriage ruling during an appearance in the White House Rose Garden after the U.S. Supreme Court announced it.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

1 Comment
  • On June 29, 2015 ambassador Osius flew the rainbow flag at the US
    embassy in Hanoi,
    Vietnam. While I wholeheartedly support the supreme court decision on
    marriage equality, the ambassador had violated regulations when the
    rainbow flag, flown on the
    same halyard as the US flag was twice the size of the US flag. I expected an ambassador to know better.
    There are rules and regulations regarding hanging the US flag. First
    and foremost, Mr. Osiius is not the GAY am bassasador to Vietnam, he is
    the U.S. ambassador to Vietnam and should act as such!

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