glbtq: an encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender & queer culture
social sciences
special features
about glbtq


   member name
   Forgot Your Password?  
Not a Member Yet?  

  Advertising Opportunities
  Permissions & Licensing
  Terms of Service
  Privacy Policy





social sciences

Alpha Index:  A-B  C-F  G-K  L-Q  R-S  T-Z

Subjects:  A-E  F-L  M-Z

Hormel, James C. (b. 1933)  
page: 1  2  

Among those speaking out on Hormel's behalf were his former wife (who had since remarried), Alice Turner, and his son, James Hormel, Jr., both of whom praised him as a man of great integrity and a good father.

His political supporters included not only Democrats but also some prominent Republicans, such as Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah and former Secretary of State George Schultz. Even staunchly conservative Senator Alphonse D'Amato of New York found the blatantly obstruction of the nomination an embarrassment and urged that Lott bring the issue up for a vote.

Sponsor Message.

Since Lott continued to stall, Clinton used the process of "recess appointment" to name Hormel ambassador while the Senate was out of session for the Memorial Day holiday in May 1999. Inhofe expressed outrage at the tactic--which was completely legal and had been used with far greater frequency by Clinton's Republican predecessors Ronald Reagan and George Bush--and vowed to block all 149 of Clinton's pending appointees in retaliation. Lott agreed, although both eventually relented.

Hormel was sworn in as ambassador on June 29, 1999 with Timothy Wu, his partner since 1995, holding the Bible at the ceremony. Also in attendance were Hormel's former wife, his five children, and several of his thirteen grandchildren.

Hormel served as ambassador through December 2000. His sexual orientation was not an issue during his tenure.

Only after his return to the United States did Hormel publicly discuss the political battle. He stated that despite the stress, he was determined to see the process through, and added that enduring the vexatious experience together with Wu had strengthened their relationship.

Wu, who was born in New York but grew up in Singapore, explained that the ordeal had brought him closer to his Chinese-born parents, who had had difficulty accepting his sexuality. He said that the "incredibly vicious accusations" against Hormel had helped them to realize the "need to take a stand" for both men.

During Senate Judiciary Committee hearings in 2001 on the nomination of John Ashcroft to be attorney general, Ashcroft's role in the attempt to thwart Hormel's confirmation became an issue. Appearing before the committee in January 2001, Hormel disputed Ashcroft's previous testimony that he had, as dean at the University of Chicago Law School, "recruited" Ashcroft to study there, as well as the nominee's further claim that he had "known Mr. Hormel for a long time." Hormel stated, "I cannot recall ever in my life having a conversation with Mr. Ashcroft."

In the wake of Hormel's appearance, the Traditional Values Coalition distributed "information packets" of examples of sexually graphic passages in materials from the Hormel collection at the San Francisco Public Library, which Hormel himself had still had no hand in choosing.

Although Ashcroft was eventually confirmed, several senators including both Paul Wellstone and Mark Dayton of Minnesota mentioned the Hormel matter in explaining why they voted against him.

Hormel and Wu, a public interest lawyer, live in the San Francisco area. They are active and generous in supporting gay rights organizations, cultural institutions, and AIDS research.

Linda Rapp

  <previous page   page: 1  2    

Contact Us
Join the Discussion
Related Entries
More Entries by this contributor
A Bibliography on this Topic

Citation Information
More Entries about Social Sciences

   Related Entries
social sciences >> Overview:  Homophobia

Homophobia was originally defined as a "dread of being in close quarters with homosexuals," but it is now sometimes used to describe any form of anti-gay bias.

social sciences >> Overview:  Libraries and Archives

Libraries and archives have been the sources of information crucial to the difficult process of identity formation and have been significant repositories for the restoration and reconstruction of queer history.

social sciences >> Overview:  Roman Catholicism

Historically, the Roman Catholic Church may be the institution most responsible for the suffering of individuals involved in same-sex sexual relationships.

social sciences >> Overview:  San Francisco

San Francisco has enjoyed a reputation as a "gay mecca" since World War II.

social sciences >> ACLU LGBT & AIDS Project

For more than four decades, the ACLU has been at the forefront of litigation and education designed to secure glbtq rights on a variety of fronts.

social sciences >> Democratic Party (United States)

The American glbtq movement for equality has largely allied itself with the Democratic Party.

social sciences >> Human Rights Campaign (HRC)

The largest glbtq political organization in the United States, the Human Rights Campaign has emerged as the leading national organization representing glbtq concerns.

social sciences >> Republican Party (United States)

The Republican Party of the United States has not been supportive of glbtq issues, despite the efforts of the Log Cabin Republicans.

arts >> Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence

Combining radical politics, street theater, and high camp, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, composed primarily of gay men, participate in a host of charity functions and political events dressed in drag as nuns.

social sciences >> Socarides, Richard

The son of a homophobic psychoanalyst, Richard Socarides became the first openly gay man to serve in a prominent White House staff position.


Curtis, Kim. "Gay Philanthropist's Appointment as Envoy Causes Controversy." Seattle Times (June 6, 1999): A15.

Estrich, Susan. "Inhofe's Own X-rated Office Politics." Denver Post (June 20, 1999): I2.

Gustafson, Craig, and Rob Hotakainen. "Hormel Key Figure in Battle over Ashcroft." (Minneapolis) Star Tribune (January 30, 2001): 4A.

Kupfer, Peter. "After a Diplomatic Silence, the Gay Ambassador Speaks; James Hormel Responds to His Vociferous Critics." Washington Post (June 20, 2001): C1.

Lochhead, Carolyn. "Lott Backs Drive to Block All Clinton Nominations." San Francisco Chronicle (June 11, 1999): A1.

Locy, Toni. "Gay Ambassador Says Ashcroft Misled Committee." USA Today (January 26, 2001): 4A.

Park, Yongsoo. "Hormel, James." Current Biography Yearbook. Clifford Thompson, ed. New York: The H. W. Wilson Company, 1999. 271-74.

Roth, Bennett. "Senate Debate on Gay Nominee Turns Increasingly Nasty." Houston Chronicle (June 27, 1998): 2.


    Citation Information
    Author: Rapp, Linda  
    Entry Title: Hormel, James C.  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2004  
    Date Last Updated July 16, 2014  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.  


This Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc. is produced by glbtq, Inc., 1130 West Adams Street, Chicago, IL   60607 glbtq™ and its logo are trademarks of glbtq, Inc.
This site and its contents Copyright © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.
Your use of this site indicates that you accept its Terms of Service.