By Lucas Grindley
Originally published on Advocate.com August 04 2014 10:55 AM ET
One of the United States' top representatives in Europe proudly married his partner on Saturday in Austria, where same-sex marriage is illegal.
Dan Baer, ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, first announced on Twitter that he "got married" to his partner Brian Walsh in Vienna, Austria, with the location confirmed in a post by the Human Rights Campaign. HRC president Chad Griffin was a guest at the ceremony, along with 160 other family and friends.
A series of legal challenges to Austria's "registered partnerships" law are underway, and full marriage equality has been proposed in parliament, where it was debated as recently as this year. Baer got his marriage license in the United States and said his wedding ceremony, held in the garden at his home, is an example of what's possible in Austria.
“I recently heard President Fischer talk about how Austria, like many countries, still has unfinished work on achieving full equality for LGBT people," Baer told The Advocate in a statement. "In the U.S., marriage equality has become emblematic of broader progress — and for that reason, I suppose a happy event like a wedding — one filled with joy, friends, and family like any other — might be a small example of the dividends that equality can bring.”
Baer moved to Vienna with Walsh, an environmental economist at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, upong becoming ambassador. A dinner to celebrate their nuptials was hosted at the home of the U.S. ambassador to Austria, Alexa Wesner, and her husband, Blaine. A reception was held at the historic Palais Ferstel.
Baer was a deputy assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor before being nominated by the president in 2013 to serve as the ambassador to OSCE. In his tweet announcing the marriage, Baer thanked Obama, along with former secretary of State Hillary Clinton and current secretary John Kerry for their "commitment to equality."
You might remember Baer from this interview with Buddy Cole on The Colbert Report, in which the two point out the absurdity of Russia's "gay propaganda" law.
So, I got married this morning. Thank you @BarackObama, @HillaryClinton, & @JohnKerry for your commitment to equality pic.twitter.com/CHMDaW9gqG
— Daniel Baer (@danbbaer) August 2, 2014