ONLY THE POPE OF ROME WOULD REJECT HER
24 February, 2011
ONLY THE POPE OF ROME WOULD REJECT HER

Several days ago the Queen of England received a new British envoy to Georgia, Ms. Judith Gouch in a private audience at the Buckingham Palace. There is nothing new or unusual in sending female envoys to represent Great Britain’s interests abroad. What is new in this particular case is that Ms. Judith Gouch is an open lesbian. And Ms. Julie Kielousi, her tennis coach and ‘partner’ (as the protocol defines her role) will officially accompany the envoy during her service in

Georgia. As London’s Daily Mail recollects with melancholy:  “Once it was de rigueur for our ambassadors to be accompanied by a charming wife who would act as hostess at their many diplomatic soirees. But now times have changed.”  Those nostalgic times, of “charming ambassadors’ wives,” have given way to modernity, to same sex partners. What a loss. Seven years ago Buckingham Palace sent an openly homosexual British ambassador, James Clark, to Luxembourg, with his partner Anthony Stewart. Inevitably, in this world of permanent change and innovation, the next step forward would be to promote a lesbian lady to ambassadorship. Why not? Haven’t aspiring female diplomats an equal right with men to choose their sexual orientation and be promoted to highest positions in the service? This turn of events was both predictable and expected. Sorry, but everything in this world is subjected to change, including the old glorious diplomatic etiquette, formed by centuries of practice. Nothing remains untouched. No doubt, same-sex marriages will soon be approved in ‘progressive’ societies; it’s just a question of time. I predict even a time when a lesbian woman will become U.S.
President.  (Being 75, I will not live up to that time, thank God.) There is only one place in the world where a lesbian ambassador would not be accepted, according to Daily Mail’s expertise. This newspaper quotes a source familiar with the world diplomatic service. According to this source, Vatican, the Holy Seat, His Holiness for sure would reject a lesbian envoy. But the rest of the world capitals would not. (Except for the Islamic countries, I presume). Even Rome which houses Vatican! “It might happen that a lesbian might be able to come to Rome as the ambassador to Italy,” Daily Mirror presumes. So, as far as the public in Georgia is “less pious than the Roman Pope” (I am quoting the old proverb) Tbilisi will accept this unusual nominee, like it or not. But here is my question. Should not the British government take into account Georgian sensibilities? Tbilisi is far less ‘progressive’ than London in treating this sensible issue and hardly needs lessons from abroad. I personally do not blame Georgians for being ‘reactionary’ on that matter. ‘Old ways’ in diplomacy and life seem nicer to me.

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