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US Ambassador marries his partner in Austria

The Local · 5 Aug 2014, 09:53

Published: 05 Aug 2014 09:53 GMT+02:00

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According to a report on the website Advocate.com, the US Ambassador to the OSCE in Austria, Dr. Daniel Baer married his long-time partner Brian Walsh in a simple ceremony on Saturday morning, surrounded by family and friends. Also present was Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin.

Dr Baer was sworn in as ambassador on September 10, 2013.  Previously, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour.

Before joining the State Departments, Baer was an Assistant Professor of Strategy, Economics, Ethics and Public Policy at Georgetown University.  

He holds masters and doctoral degrees in international relations from the University of Oxford, where he was a Marshall Scholar.  His undergraduate degree came from Harvard University in social studies and African American studies.

Baer and Walsh obtained the license for their marriage in the US, but held the ceremony at their home in Vienna.  

While this type of marriage is not generally countenanced under Austrian law, technically the ambassador's residence is US territory, therefore no Austrian regulations were likely to be breached - and in any case, the marriage license was not issued by the Austrian government.

Registered same-sex partnerships have been legal in Austria since January 2010, however significant differences remain between such partnerships and full marriage.  The latter institution enjoys privileges denied to same-sex couples, including rights of adoption and lack of access to reproductive services (IVF).

The current law on registered partnerships has been found to be unconstitutional by Austria's supreme court, with significant gaps remaining before full equality is achieved.

Baer is the seventh openly LGBT person appointed by President Barack Obama and the first to a multilateral institution. 

Following the ceremony, Baer tweeted the news “So I got married this morning,” expressing thanks to Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Secretary of State John Kerry for their “commitment to equality.”

Story continues below…

In 2013, the US ambassador to Australia, John Berry, married his long-term partner of 17 years in a private same-sex ceremony in Washington D.C.  Other openly gay US ambassadors include David Huebner in New Zealand, James Costos in Spain, and Rufus Gifford in Denmark.

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