Obama Nominates Gay Man as U.S. Ambassador to Australia

John Berry, the former director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, was nominated Friday as U.S. ambassador to Australia, the White House announced on Friday.

BerryOn background from the White House:

John Berry served as the Director of the Office of Personnel Management from April 2009 to April 2013.  Previously, he was the Director of the Smithsonian National Zoological Park from 2005 to 2009, and the Executive Director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation from 2000 to 2005.  From 1997 to 2000, Mr. Berry served as Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management, and Budget at the Department of the Interior.  From 1995 to 1997, he was Director of Government Relations and Senior Policy Advisor at the Smithsonian Institution.  He joined the federal government in 1994 as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Law Enforcement at the Department of Treasury.  Before joining the Department of Treasury, Mr. Berry was the Legislative Director for U.S. Representative Steny Hoyer.  Mr. Berry received a B.A. from the University of Maryland, College Park and an M.P.A. from Syracuse University.

The Washington Blade notes that Berry would be the first openly gay ambassador to a G-20 country. His nomination needs to be confirmed by the Senate.


  1. Jason says

    Note how he’s picking gay ambassadors to relatively safe countries only.Typical cowardice from the President.

    Oh, and did he say anything to Putin the other day re Russia’s anti-gay legislation? Doubt it.

  2. Michael Bedwell says

    Meh. President Clinton broke that ceiling years ago. How about that out gay member of his Cabinet that people have been predicting for five years?

  3. Nick says

    David Huebner, who’s been US ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa for a few years now is gay, and I think has made a very favourable impression here.

    I noticed last month that the US Embassy was one of the sponsors for “Outtakes”, the NZ GLBT Film Festival, and I thought that was a great example of US “soft power.”

    He and his partner have also made a beautiful job of doing up the US ambassador’s residence in Wellington – another advantage of having gay men in the diplomatic corps!

  4. Gbe says

    Where does this inside info on Barry come from? Are his dinner parties to die for? Gag me on the residence in Wellington. Who cares? Obviously Obama finds him suitable down under.

  5. Chris says

    @Jason You were ptobably one of the people that was saying Obama was irresponsible for allowing a possible gay man to be the us ambassador to Libya. Like others have said, I’m sure he’s glad that he’s not being sent to Saudi Arabia. What so-called “point” would be made in doing do? Straining relations further? Or perhaps a total breakdown of relations when they refuse to talk to America anymore? Or a point like Hilary Clinton promoting gay rights at The UN? Or a point like Obama saying that he’ll use foreign aid to influence gay rights abroad? Do you think that you’ll do any better with a republican in the White House? Please. You are obviously unhinged.

  6. Andrew says

    Ironically our homophobic government just said a big ‘NO’ to recognising international ‘gay’ marriage; 28-44.[and now with 64% of Aus supporting ‘gay’ marriage….what the!!??]

    I wonder if Labor brought Kevin back if he’d still pro-‘gay’ marriage. Please no Liberal party.

  7. Eric says

    President Obama also today nominated Wally Brewster from HRC to be ambassador to the Dominican Republic. Last week, he nominated gay ambassadors to Denmark, Spain and the OECD. Five gay ambassadors in one month is pretty impressive.

  8. emjayay says

    I believe the Republicans had a heart attack over the first one but somehow got over it. And Hillary’s UN speech was amazing. Things never change as fast as we would like but they are changing. Next week, the Supreme Court. Uh-oh.

  9. Mike Ryan says

    Berry, as head of OPM, did not do that much to help gay Federal employees despite many pleas from the in-house gay Federal organizations. Many agencies have quietly driven gay employees out of their jobs, denied them promotions, used their talents and expertise to their advantage without recognizing them.

    Gillard, Aussie’s Prime Minister, can’t be too happy tho’ with such an American choice. Despite the fact that she is unmarried and lives with her hairdresser boyfriend, she has done little to nothing to help the gay people of Australia.

  10. Aussie Steve says


    Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott (leader of the opposition) are both actively blocking any gay law reform. I’d also like to remind everyone that Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull both voted against gay marriage so even if they were in power nothing would change.

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