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Popular Topics in The Arts
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Congratulations
 
Congratulations to James Costos and Rufus Gifford
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 06/14/13
Last updated on: 06/14/13
 
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On June 14, 2013, the White House announced that President Obama has nominated two more openly gay men as Ambassadors. HBO executive James Costos has been tapped to represent the United States as Ambassador to Spain. Democratic Party fundraiser Rufus Gifford has been nominated to serve as Ambassador to Denmark.

Costos is the vice president of global licensing and retail, consumer marketing for HBO. In June 2010, Costos and his life partner, designer Michael Smith, hosted First Lady Michelle Obama at their home for a fundraiser for her husband's reelection campaign. In 2009, Smith was selected by the first lady to redecorate the residential quarters of the White House, and he later designed a makeover of the Oval Office.

Chad Griffin of the Human Rights Campaign described Costos as "a true citizen of the world. He has incredible global business experience and is a respected and innovative leader. He has solid business and political relationships at the highest levels and a proven commitment to community, philanthropy, human rights, and democracy that make him an outstanding choice to be the nation's next Ambassador to Spain."

Gifford, the son of a Boston banking family and a former film producer, is an accomplished Democratic Party fundraiser who served as finance director of the President's reelection campaign. In that capacity, he is believed to have raised almost a billion dollars. His former romantic partner Jeremy Bernard in 2011 became the first openly gay White House social secretary.

Griffin described Gifford as "a terrific choice to represent our country in Denmark. His demonstrated leadership and unwavering commitment to democracy and human rights will serve him well as he represents America's interests abroad."

On June 10, President Obama nominated Daniel Baer as U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

If Baer, Costos, and Gifford are confirmed by the U.S. Senate, they will become the fourth, fifth, and six openly gay U.S. Ambassadors.

The three previous openly gay U.S. Ambassadors are James C. Hormel, who was appointed Ambassador to Luxembourg by President Bill Clinton in 1999 in a "recess appointment" after the Senate refused to act on his 1997 nomination; Michael E. Guest, who was appointed Ambassador to Romania by President George W. Bush in 2001; and David Huebner, who was appointed Ambassador to New Zealand by President Obama in 2009 and continues to serve in that capacity.

 
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