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Ted Osius, First Openly Gay U.S. Ambassador in East Asia, Sworn In: VIDEO

Osius

Yesterday, Ted Osius III was sworn in by Secretary of State John Kerry as the U.S. ambassador to Vietnam. Osius is the first openly gay U.S. ambasaddor to serve in East Asia.

Said Secretary Kerry at the swearing-in ceremony:

When Ted first joined the Foreign Service, being open about who you love was grounds for having your security clearance yanked. Today, the LGBT community is embraced by the Foreign Service and well beyond. And we issue family visas for same-sex couples, and with the help of Pat Kennedy, OPM has removed exclusionary language from health insurance plans regarding gender transitions.

Folks, that’s part of the message we want to send to the world: example, leading by example, that we point to our flaws – and we just did so yesterday in a pretty bold way – but we do so understanding that’s the way you make things better in the long run, and that every day we are redefining the meaning of our great American experiment.

Watch the ceremony here. You can also check out a video message Osius sent to the people of Vietnam shortly before his confirmation, AFTER THE JUMP...

HRC's Legislative Counsel Remington Gregg adds:

Osius2Osius becomes the seventh openly LGBT individual to be confirmed as an ambassador during the Obama Administration.  With more than 90 million citizens, Vietnam is the world’s 13th most populous country.

Osius is a former career diplomat who has served in Indonesia, India, Thailand, the Vatican, Philippines, and Vietnam, and was a senior advisor for international affairs during the Clinton Administration.  Osius is married and has one son.

Currently, Vietnam does not recognizes same-sex marriage even though the Vietnamese health minister recommended legalization, citing research which shows that stigmatization faced by LGBT people can have serious health consequences. 

[bottom photo via Facebook]

Continue reading "Ted Osius, First Openly Gay U.S. Ambassador in East Asia, Sworn In: VIDEO" »


Senate Confirms Openly Gay Foreign Service Officer as Vietnam Ambassador

Pursuit-Ted Osius_SLQTTed Osius — an openly gay Foreign Service officer — is set to become the U.S. ambassador to Vietnam.

While the appointment was confirmed on Monday by a voice vote in the Senate, President Obama first made the nomination all the way back in May of this year.

The Washington Blade reports that as an ambassador, Osius plans to direct his attention to areas of "security, nonproliferation, and law enforcement" in the U.S.-Vietnam relationship.

His experience thus far has been centered mostly around Asia — with the Foreign Service, he has worked in countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and India. He's also served as an associate professor at the National War College and as a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic & International Studies.

Osius is the seventh openly gay person nominated by Obama to serve as a U.S. ambassador.

Four other ambassadors were confirmed with him at the voice vote Monday.


Hundreds March In Third Vietnam Pride Parade - VIDEO

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Around 300 people took part in the third Gay Pride parade in Vietnam last Sunday, reports Australia News Network.

Demonstrations of any kind are tightly controlled in Vietnam, especially following riots in May in protest at China's placement of an oil rig in the South China Sea.

Although homosexuality remains taboo in Vietnam, there have signs of increasing tolerance of LGBT people in recent years including the removal of fines for same-sex wedding parties.  In 2012, the country briefly considered introducing same-sex marriage.

However, one of the parade organisers, Nguyen Trong Dung, said that LGBT people need to be "accepted by their families" before an end to wider prejudice is conceivable.

Check out a promotional video for VietPride 2014, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Hundreds March In Third Vietnam Pride Parade - VIDEO" »


Wednesday Speed Read: Pennsylvania, Vietnam, Ted Osius, Primary Results

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

PENNSYLVANIA MARRIAGES: Jones

A federal judge on Tuesday declared a ban on same-sex couples marrying in Pennsylvania to be a violation of the equal protection and due process guarantees of the U.S. Constitution. U.S. District Court Judge John Jones III (an appointee of President George W. Bush) said the plaintiff couples suffer “a multitude of daily harms” from the ban. “We are a better people than what these laws represent,” wrote Jones in Whitewood v. Wolf, “and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history.” Republican Governor Tom Corbett’s press office said Tuesday evening the governor had not yet made a decision regarding whether to appeal the ruling. Last November, he vowed to defend the ban.

OsiusAMBASSADOR NUMBER SIX:

President Obama this month nominated an openly gay State Department fellow to serve as the U.S. ambassador to Vietnam. Ted Osius has 25 years of experience as a State Department officer in Asia, including years advising the ambassador to India and serving as deputy chief of the U.S. mission in Jakarta. He had a stint as political and management officer at the U.S. Embassy in Vatican City. And he is currently an associate professor at the National War College in Washington, D.C. The State Department website profiled Osius and his spouse, Clayton Bond, last June as part of its Pride Month recognition. Bond is a foreign service officer at the State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs. Osius and Bond were married in Canada. Previously, President Obama named openly gay men as ambassadors to five other countries.

AT LEAST SIX OF EIGHT GAYS WIN RACES: Sims

Of eight openly LGBT candidates on primary ballots yesterday, six are confirmed winners, one lost, and for one the results were not yet in at midnight. In Georgia, incumbent State Rep. Simone Bell easily won her Democratic primary with 64 percent of the vote; incumbent Democratic Rep. Karla Drenner was unopposed. In Fulton County, incumbent county commissioner Joan Garner coasted to the Democratic nomination with 70 percent of the vote. But newcomer Kyle Williams fell short in his Democratic primary race for a state senate seat, taking on 34 percent of the vote compared to winner Elena Parent’s 66 percent. In Pennsylvania, Democratic incumbent Brian Sims ran unopposed. The results for newcomer Josh Young for a Pennsylvania House seat were not yet in at deadline. In Idaho, newcomer Democrat John McCrostie beat out two other candidates for the nomination to a House seat, taking 53.5 percent of the vote. And in Oregon, Rob Nosse was the top vote getter in a field of six Democratic candidates for a House seat, earning 48 percent of the vote.

© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


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

President Obama has nominated Ted Osius for U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam.

Thanh Nien News reports:

OsiusIf officially appointed, Osius will replace David Shear, who has held the position since 2011 and been recently nominated to be the next Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs in the Department of Defense.

...A known gay politician, Osius is now married to Clayton Bond, who is an officer with the US Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs.

From the State Department announcement:

Ted Osius, a career member of the Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, is an Associate Professor at the National War College, a position he has held since 2013.  He was a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies from 2012 to 2013.  Prior to that, Mr. Osius served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, from 2009 to 2012.  Before that, he was Political Minister-Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India from 2006 to 2009.  Mr. Osius also served as Deputy Director of the Office of Korean Affairs in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the Department of State from 2004 to 2006.  Prior to that, he was Regional Environment Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand from 2001 to 2004.  From 1998 to 2001, he was Senior Advisor on International Affairs in the Office of the Vice President at the White House.  He served as Political Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City and at the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam from 1997 to 2001.  Other positions he has held include: Staff Aide and Political Officer at the United States Mission to the United Nations, Political and Management Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Vatican City, The Holy See, and Political and Consular Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines.  From 1985 to 1987, he was a Legislative Correspondent in the Office of U.S. Senator Al Gore, Jr.  Mr. Osius received an A.B. from Harvard College and an M.S. from the School of Advanced International Studies at The Johns Hopkins University.


Same-Sex Ceremonies Legalized In Vietnam But Marriages Will Not Be Recognized

Vietnam made important strides toward same-sex marriage equality this week when it legalized same-sex wedding ceremonies. Although the unions formed out of these ceremonies will not be recognized by the country as marriages, the news is welcome and exciting for the southeast Asian country. 

VietnamFree District reports:

The decision comes after two fines were imposed last year to two same-sex couples who held weddings ceremonies in Vietnam.

The couples were charged with holding a ceremony “contrary to the habits and customs of Vietnam” and violating the Law on Marriage & Family of Vietnam, which outlaws same-sex marriage, said reports.

After the law was challenged, however, the government backed down, and has decided to allow same-sex weddings.

As Towleroad previously reported, the Vietnamese government has been scheduled to look at a bill which would legalize same-sex marriages as well, but the vote, which would likely have its supporters, has been delayed. 

For now, congratulations to Vietnam and the same-sex couples who are able to have the ceremony of their dreams! 


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