US Ambassador to UK: After same-sex marriage there is still more to be done
The US Ambassador to the UK Matthew Barzun speaks to PinkNews about the Supreme Court on same-sex marriage and says there is still much more to be done for equality.
The Ambassador spoke to PinkNews at a reception at the US Embassy for LGBT Pride, during which he gave a speech and introduced a performance by British singer Ellie Goulding.
Matthew Barzun is the US Ambassador to the UK
Ahead of yesterday’s Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage, which will legalise same-sex marriage for all Americans, Mr Barzun said: “It’s not over – there is so much more work to be done here in the UK, back in the United States… I get energised – looking back at everyone who has worked really, really hard to bring us where we are today – and just to get energy and encouragement to keep doing that – US and UK shoulder to shoulder, all around the world.”
When asked about whether he was concerned that in Northern Ireland there still isn’t marriage equality he said: “I don’t focus on that because in my role, – look we’ve go issues back home in the United States… Change doesn’t come from our judiciary alone – its activists, journalists, business leaders, political leaders – so that’s what I’m focussed on – being inspired by the change that’s happened and trying to give us energy for the work ahead of us.”
Sue Perkins at the reception
On working in a city as diverse as London, the Ambassador said: “It reminds me of home – you see all across our country big famous Pride marches, and small ones that don’t get picked up in the news. It’s happening in rural Kentucky, in Boston, Massachusetts. I’m honoured with my wife to be taking part on Saturday [At Pride in London] – I’ll be there.”
Speaking about trans issues, he continued: “I used to work in San Francisco… I happened to work really closely with a dear friend who went through transition, and about six months after going through it in an intense way, and having conversations about that, a dear friend colleague did a similar transition. This is in a group of 70 people, and to just know those people and hear those troubles, and to watch them go through that transition was incredibly powerful.”
Ellie Goulding performed at the US Embassy
He continued: “I think it’s something most people haven’t done, and if you think about LGB issues, people have siblings,friends parents… it’s closer to them and they can humanise it. If people haven’t experienced it directly then it may be harder. All kinds of media have a role to play in this.”
In his speech later in the evening, Mr Barzun said: “Courts are important and Supreme Courts are Supremely important, but the change that we have didn’t just come from courts, did it? This happened because of activists and artists and journalists and business leaders and political leaders – each of you doing your own part to bring us to where we are today.
“So this is a celebration of two things – where we’ve come from, and where we are today – and it is an opportunity to give each other energy and encouragement for the work yet to be done,” he said.