Right on cue, the White House announced last night the nomination of David Huebner as U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa. Huebner serves as General Counsel to the Gay and Lesian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and is currently based in Shanghai, where he handles international arbitration and mediation cases for the U.S. law firm, Sheppard, Mullin, Richter and Hampton.
While this is not a critical diplomatic post, it is significant in that the U.S. government has never had an openly gay ambassador. What remains to be seen is whether this move is a precursor to more pro-LGBT announcements in the next few days, or if it's just another token gesture from our "fierce advocate".
UPDATE: This just in from my inside source at the Foreign Service Office in Shanghai (my brilliant nephew, Andrew).
"Huebner will be the first openly gay ambassador in the regular sense of an ambassador to an individual country. But in 2007, [former Secretary of State] Rice appointed Mark Dybul to be Global AIDS Coordinator (an at-large office that has the rank of ambassador). It created a whole stir at the time because at the swearing-in ceremony, the Secretary referred to Dybul's partner's mom as his "mother-in-law", right at the same time the Administration was doing all the Defense of Marriage stuff."