Post submitted by Kerry Brodie, former HRC Global Press Secretary
Hailed as Vietnam’s “gay power couple,” U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius and his husband Clayton Bond were profiled in Bloomberg earlier this week.
In December, Osius was sworn in as U.S. ambassador to the world’s thirteenth 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.
As relations between Vietnam and the U.S. improve, Osius and Bond have worked closely with the LGBT community. Tung Tran, director of ICS, a Ho Chi Minh City-based group that advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, explained that Bond, Osius, and their two children are a powerful symbol for the LGBT community in Vietnam.
Currently, Vietnam does not recognize same-sex marriage. However, in November 2013 Vietnam decriminalized same-sex weddings, removed the penalties that had been previously imposed for organizing or participating in same-sex weddings, and gave same-sex couples the right to live together. In June 2014 the National Assembly considered legalizing same-sex marriage but ended up passing a revised Law on Family and Marriage that neither recognized nor prohibited same-sex marriage. So while same-sex marriage is not yet legal, Vietnam is now at the forefront of countries in Asia that are becoming more accepting of LGBT people.
The couple plans to renew their vows this month before U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg during her visit to Hanoi.
In March, HRC was joined by Osius and Bond along with all of the openly LGBT U.S. Ambassadors for an evening of celebration. HRC president Chad Griffin explained that the openly LGBT ambassadors are, “proof positive of just how far we’ve come” and are “a beacon of hope to LGBT youth in this country and around the world.”
HRC continues to urge the Administration to nominate openly LGBT individuals to serve in senior positions within cabinet agencies and the White House to ensure that qualified LGBT individuals have a seat at the table when important decisions are made.