Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Obama Appoints Gay Man to High Post, Retains Another

Barack Obama has named a gay man his principal advisor in matters of personnel administration, and retained a Bush appointee as his AIDS ambassador.

Clinton Assistant Interior Secretary John Berry is rumored to be Obama's Director of the Office of Personnel Management. Said The Victory Fund's Chuck Wolfe: "It says a lot about Barack Obama’s commitment to equality in the workplace that he has apparently chosen an openly gay person for this extremely important job. John has dedicated his career to public service, so it makes sense that he will be able help thousands of others who are willing to do the same."

Bush appointee and gay physician Mark Dybul will keep his job as Global AIDS Coordinator as we head into an Obama administration: "A number of AIDS and reproductive rights groups have urged Obama to replace Dybul with someone the groups feel would be more likely to change the Bush administration’s insistence that at least some international AIDS relief funds be linked to abstinence-only programs. Among the groups calling on Obama to replace Dybul as AIDS coordinator are the International Women’s Health Coalition and the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, which advocates, among other things, for gay-sensitive sex education programs."

But Richard Socarides, who helped coordinate AIDS policy during the Clinton administration, told Towleroad: "I think he (Dybul) gets universally high marks from both progressives and conservatives, gays and straights, for doing a terrific job with this, Bush's most important legacy program."

Below, you may remember Dybul's swearing-in, at which Condoleezza Rice referred to Dybul's partner Jason Claire's mother as Dybul's "mother-in-law," delivering the labels of marriage without the laws.

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