Aussie diplomat’s romantic proposal
AUSTRALIA's ambassador to France has used the passage of the historic same-sex marriage bill to propose to his partner.
Brendan Berne popped the question to his partner of 11 years, Thomas Marti, inside the residence at the Australian Embassy in Paris earlier today.
En tant qu'ambassadeur en France, c'est un grand jour pour mon pays l'Australie qui a approuvé le #MariagePourTous. Mais aussi pour moi, au niveau personnel. Il était temps de faire ma demande. HE SAID YES! #MarriageEquality #SSM pic.twitter.com/xuRKSnyAd8— Brendan Berne (@AusAmbFR) December 7, 2017
Mr Berne, who took over the job from Stephen Brady in October, filmed a piece to camera on the embassy balcony overlooking the Eiffel Tower, then proposed to a somewhat surprised Mr Marti, who was working at a computer, dressed casually in jeans.
The men shared a hug and a kiss after Mr Marti said yes, just hours after the Australian Parliament passed laws allowing same-sex marriages to take place from next year.
Mr Berne said that as an Australian ambassador, it had been a "great day for my country … but also for me on a personal level.''
"HE SAID YES!'' he posted on Facebook and Twitter as the pair celebrated.
The diplomatic community joined in the celebrations, with Australia's High Commissioner to South Africa Adam McCarthy the first to tweet, saying: "Congratulations Brendan - of course I can't read French but I can have a pretty good guess at the contents. Well done mate, best wishes.''
The Charge d'Affaires at the Australian Embassy in Belgium, Caroline Millar, also sent "warm congratulations to the pair'', as did the Australian Consul-General in New Caledonia, Paul Wilson.
The Australian Ambassador to Ireland, Richard Andrews, also tweeted his congratulations about the proposal, including a joke warning "spoiler: he said yes.''
Chris Cannan, the Australian Ambassador to Israel, who is currently hosting Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on a visit, took a quick minute to acknowledge the engagement, saying it happened on the same day Australia changed its marriage laws.
Mr Berne has worked for almost 20 years at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and spent a year as chief of staff to Trade Minister Steven Ciobo before taking on the plum post in Paris.
He replaced Stephen Brady, who was awarded France's highest civilian honour, the Legion of Honour, when he completed his term this year.
Mr Brady, who held a number of senior diplomatic posts, was also a trailblazer, with he and his partner Peter Stephens considered the world's first openly gay diplomatic couple when Mr Brady was appointed Ambassador to Denmark in 1999.