Friday, June 21, 2013


President Nominates Two Openly Gay Men To Diplomatic Posts
WASHINGTON – The White House announced Friday the nominations of John Berry to be Ambassador to Australia, and James “Wally” Brewster, Jr. to be Ambassador to the Dominican Republic.
John Berry served as the Director of the Office of Personnel Management from April 2009 to April 2013. Previously Berry served as the Director of the Smithsonian National Zoological Park and the Executive Director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Berry received a B.A. from the University of Maryland, College Park and an M.P.A. from Syracuse University. 
James “Wally” Brewster, Jr. is the Senior Managing Partner for SB&K Global, a brand strategy and consumer dynamics consulting firm based in Chicago, Illinois. Brewster is a National LGBT Co-Chair for the Democratic National Committee and currently serves on the Board of the Human Rights Campaign Fund.
Upon learning of the presidential nominations, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin told LGBTQ Nation in an emailed statement:
“John Berry has been a devoted public servant for thirty years, and will bring tremendous experience to our embassy in Canberra. His lifetime of professional experiences make him an outstanding choice to be the nation’s next Ambassador to Australia. I urge the Senate to confirm his nomination.”
“Wally Brewster is an excellent choice to be our nation’s ambassador to the Dominican Republic. His global business and management expertise is matched by his enthusiasm and commitment to human rights and democracy around the world. Wally’s political intelligence and work in public affairs and communications make would make him a valuable contribution to our nation’s diplomatic efforts.”
LGBT Group Endorses Virginia's Democratic Ticket Despite Candidate's Tepid Support Of LGBT Issues
By Brad Kutner & Brody Levesque | RICHMOND -- LGBT Advocacy Group Equality Virginia’s Political Action Committee released its endorsements Friday for the state Democratic ticket as the race for Virginia's three top jobs begins in earnest.
Equality Virginia Executive Director James Parrish stated that this year's races will be a crucial turning point for LGBT Virginians in ending workplace discrimination, gaining marriage equality, extending adoption rights and protecting youth.
Virginians have a very clear choice this November to show their support for our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community,” Parrish said. But he also acknowledged a lack of public comment on LGBT issues from the Democratic slate was problematic adding that when faced with the choices Virginian’s have, the three Democratic candidates were head and shoulders above their Republican counter parts.
"You could be disappointed, or you could look at the climate of Virginia and be thankful that he's not making the comments the other candidates are," said Parrish. "Maybe each of the three candidates are at a different place when voicing their level of affirmation, but we felt these three will make a positive impact for LGBT Virginians."
Terry McAuliffe, a Northern-Virginia business man, running against Republican candidate, Virginia's Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli,  in the gubernatorial race, spoke at EV's Equality Dinner event in April, telling attendees ”I came out early (for marriage equality) because I thought it was the right thing to do.” 
Since then, however McAuliffe has been less vocal in his affirmations. At a recent press conference after the Democratic Primary, McAuliffe, after saying "yes" when asked whether he supported same-sex marriage, deflecting further questions about LGBT issues to his running mate, State Senator Ralph Northam.
As the candidate for Lt.Governor, Northam has been the most vocal candidate on the issue. During a recent interview Northam said “We need a Virginia that is welcoming and inclusive. We need to move in a forward pattern, rather than backwards."
The GOP ticket includes controversial anti-gay Hampton Roads minister and attorney E. W. Jackson, running for Lt. Governor, who has publicly opposed advancement of LGBT rights. During a sermon last October, Jackson added to his long list of virulently anti-gay remarks by warning  that marriage equality for gays and lesbians will result in the legalization of man-animal unions.
A May 2013 poll found that a majority of voters in Virginia now support marriage equality for same-sex couples reflecting a significant shift in public opinion over the last two years.
Contributing to this report is Brad Kutner, Editor of

Out Gay Man, Takes Over As Acting Secretary Of The Air Force
USAF Secretary Eric Fanning * Official Photo
By Brody Levesque | ANDREWS AFB MARYLAND -- U. S. Air Force Secretary Michael Donley retired Friday after five years as the service’s top civilian in a retirement ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, Md. The president has not yet nominated Donley's successor.
The Air Force Under Secretary, Eric Fanning, will take over as acting secretary. Fanning, who is openly gay, takes over just as the U. S. Supreme Court is set to rule on the Defense of Marriage Act, which blocks same-sex couples from receiving the same benefits as heterosexual couples.
In a recent interview, Fanning said that he hopes the Pentagon will adopt a non-discrimination policy to protect gay and lesbian service members. 
"I always think it’s important to have non-discrimination policies codified to include everyone,” Fanning said. “The military, because it has a chain of command, has a different attitude about this and a different way to try to go about protecting airmen, sailors, soldiers, Marines."
He was confirmed by the Senate as the 24th Under Secretary of the Air Force on April 18, 2013, and began to serve in the additional role of Acting Secretary of the Air Force June 21, 2013. He is responsible for the affairs of the Department of the Air Force, including the organizing, training, equipping and providing for the welfare of its more than 333,000 men and women on active duty, 178,000 members of the Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve, 182,000 civilians, and their families. He also oversees the Air Force's annual budget of more than $110 billion.
A graduate of Dartmouth College, Fanning has also worked on Capitol Hill during the Clinton years as a research assistant with the House Armed Services Committee and then later he served as associate director of political affairs at the White House.
In service to the LGBT community, Fanning also served on the board of directors of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund from 2004 to 2007.