Thursday, October 8, 2009

This Queer Little Planet: Obama Nominates David Huebner for Ambassador to NZ

Just days ago, activist David Mixner suggested that President Obama's much ballyhooed speech tomorrow night at the annual HRC dinner would be little more than the same old lip service unless he made some concrete announcements, like taking action on repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act or announcing the nomination of the first openly gay U.S. Ambassador.

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."



  1. Also, James Hormel Ambassador to Luxembourg under Bill Clinton as a recess appointment and Michael Guest Ambassador to Romania under Bush ( By the way...Guest was the 1st openly gay man confirmed by the senate in 2001)

  2. Once again, an empty gesture from Barack - this already happened eight years ago.

    Michael E. Guest (born 1957) was the U.S. Ambassador to Romania, appointed by President George W. Bush.[1] Guest was sworn in by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell on September 18, 2001 and took up his duties on September 24, 2001. During his speech at Guest's swearing-in ceremony in the State Department Diplomatic Reception Room, Powell explicitly noted the presence of and positively recognized Guest's life partner, Alex Nevarez. LGBT rights groups viewed Guest's appointment, and Powell's remarks, as historic and indicative of greater recognition of gay State Department employees and same-sex partners


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