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Clinton Appoints First Gay Ambassador

Compiled By GayToday

Washington, D.C.--"I am very pleased and honored that the President has appointed me as United Stated Ambassador to Luxembourg," said America's new openly gay ambassador, James Hormel. "I want to thank him, Secretary Albright and the many members of the United States Senate who have supported my nomination. I deeply appreciate the confidence they have expressed in me and I look forward to serving." jhormel.jpg - 6.59 K James Hormel can finally smile after his appointment as ambassador to Luxembourg

Religious fundamentalists and Republican politicians beholden to the Religious Reich were quick to denounce the appointment made by the President, who deliberately bypassed its stalled Senate confirmation.

White House spokesperson Joe Lockhart said: "It came down to a couple of senators who thought that he shouldn't be ambassador because he's gay. And the president thinks that's wrong and discriminatory and that's why he moved ahead with the recess appointment.''

One anti-gay politician, Senator James M. Inhofe, (R-Okla), who led opposition to the nomination, accused Clinton of "utter contempt of the Senate and its role in the confirmation process.'' He called Hormel "an inappropriate representative of our country.''

Invoking a provision of the Constitution that allows him to make such appointments during congressional recesses, the President, outsmarting the confirmation delay Republicans had engineered against the highly qualified Hormel, insured that the new ambassador would serve in his diplomatic post through the current session of Congress.

Hormel's supporters have been confident he'd instantly win confirmation if the full Senate got a chance to vote. "The denial of a confirmation vote by the Senate leadership, a vote he would have easily won, was nothing more than anti-gay discrimination,'' said Elizabeth Birch, executive director of the Human Rights Campaign. Ms. Birch called Clinton's sidestepping of the vote "a bold move."

Related Stories from the GayToday Archive:
James Hormel: Can a Qualified Gay Male Become a U.S. Ambassador?

White House Invites Notables to See Gay History Film

European Parliament Denounces Anti-Gay Nations

Related Sites:
James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center

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Republican Majority Leader Trent Lott, remembered for having likened gay men and lesbians to alcoholics and kleptomaniacs, spoke through his aide John Czwartacki who repeated untruths told by Christian Reich officials. The Lott spokesperson called the Clinton appointment "a slap in the face,'' to Catholics.

Czwartacki cited what he claimed were Hormel's links with San Francisco's Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence – mostly transgendered men who dress as nuns. Lott considers the group "an extremist anti-Catholic group.''

Hormel, once a spectator at a San Francisco gay parade, was said to have smiled as the Sisters passed by on the street. This singular smile was seized upon by Republican bigots as their evidence that the new ambassador had official ties to the philanthropic Sisters group.

White House spokesman Barry Toiv said Hormel doesn't support "any such group. The idea ... is outrageous and is false.'' California Senator Dianne Feinstein called Hormel's appointment "long overdue.''

California Senator Barbara Boxer said the President's decision proves the country is unwilling to discriminate. "The reason those holds were placed on Hormel ... was because he is a homosexual. That is the only reason. This country can't move in that direction.''

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