Mark Gooding has been appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia, it was announced yesterday.
Currently Mr. Gooding is Deputy High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and the Maldives in Colombo and is due to take up his new appointment in September.
He is openly gay and has a civil partner, Dr Christopher McCormick.
“I am honoured and delighted to be appointed HM Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia,” he said in a press statement.
“The UK and Cambodia have strong shared interests in a variety of fields, including trade, development, tourism, climate change, security, and human rights. I look forward to developing further the strong ties that already exist between our two countries and to creating new partnerships in the years ahead.”
Generally speaking, Cambodia – a predominantly Buddhist country – accepts homosexuality.
The highly-regarded King Sihanouk famously said in 2004 that he supported gay marriage. But Cambodia is not an ‘absolute monarchy’ and the King has no executive powers.
And three years later Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen publicly announced at a graduation ceremony attended by almost 3,000 people, that his youngest, and adopted, daughter Malis was a lesbian – and that had disowned her. However, in the same speech he asked Cambodians to accept homosexuals.
A Gay Pride has been staged in the capital Phnom Penh every year since 2004, and is usually held to coincide with International Day Against Homophobia. This year, Phnom Penh Pride is between May 10 and 17.