US Ambassador to Australia John Berry held his first television interview in the country last week during which the recently-married diplomat discussed his wedding to his longterm partner, but politely refused to say whether Australia should legislate for marriage equality.
Appearing on ABC News Breakfast last Wednesday morning, the ambassador was asked by hosts Virginia Trioli and Michael Rowland what his thoughts were on the local debate over equal marriage rights for the gay community.
“I believe gay marriage is a sensitive topic and it’s one that Australians need to decide for Australia,” he said.
“I’m happy to talk about our experience in the United States. It has certainly been one that has been of great assistance and help to us. We’re very grateful to our Supreme Court and our president and the District of Columbia and the Episcopal Church who all allowed and cleared the path for Curtis and I to marry in the United States. We were very honoured to do so.
“In terms of Australia – Australians need to decide that issue best for Australians.”
Berry married his partner, Curtis Yee, in August following a ceremony at St Margaret’s Epsicopal Church in Washington D.C. He is the fourth openly-gay US ambassador but is the first openly-gay ambassador to serve in a Group of 20 (G20) nation. Yee, a former lawyer from Hawaii, is accompanying Berry during his ambassadorship.
Having been in Australia for only a few weeks, Berry said he has already very much enjoyed the country and its sights.
“I’ve been to Perth and Fremantle. I loved both … I’ve been to Melbourne twice and I got to go to the grand final game on my second day here. You can’t get a better start than that,” he said.
“I’ve been to Uluru … It was a beautiful place. I got to meet with a number of indigenous leaders there.”
An interview with Berry also aired on Pete Dillon’s Saturday Magazine program on JOY 94.9 this weekend, during which the US Ambassador discussed the importance of LGBTI rights.