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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 13, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 46
Vatican meets with U.S. LGBT envoy
Section One
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Vatican meets with U.S. LGBT envoy

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Randy Berry, the U.S. Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons, met privately with Vatican officials on November 10.

Details of Berry's meeting with officials from the Holy See's Secretary of State's office, the Vatican equivalent of the U.S. State Department, were not released. Berry is on a three-week trip to European capitals.

The meeting between Berry and the Vatican was described as a 'first-of-its-kind' event. This past spring, the Vatican refused to receive Gay French ambassador Laurent Stefanini. France eventually withdrew Stefanini's nomination.

Observers speculated that the Vatican objected to Stefanini because he is married and his husband might have turned up at diplomatic receptions, requiring the Holy See's diplomats to recognize their relationship.

However, Berry's mission will not focus on marriage rights, but on the twin foreign policy issues of anti-LGBT violence and discrimination, which are less problematic from the Vatican's point of view.

That strategy, Berry says, allows for common ground with the Vatican to stand together against extreme violence.

'We were not there to talk about issues of civil unions or same sex marriage, for example, because that is not part of our policy,' Berry told Time magazine. 'That is not part of the conversation we were interested in engaging in, nor do I think were they.'

Berry was appointed in February, as the first LGBT rights envoy in U.S. history. He is a career diplomat who has served in Nepal, Uganda, and the Netherlands.

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