UPDATE: President Biden has tapped former U.S. Ambassador to Denmark Rufus Gifford to serve as the State Department's new chief of protocol. Gifford is openly gay.
As chief of protocol, Gifford will retain the rank of ambassador. He will
assist President Biden and other top U.S. leaders with proper diplomatic protocols
when visiting or receiving foreign dignitaries. Gifford will also schedule itineraries for visiting officials from abroad. He had previously served as Deputy Campaign Manager for Biden's 2020 presidential campaign.
This is my original post from October, 2016:
My regular blog readers may recall a post from exactly a year ago
reporting the marriage of Rufus Gifford, the U.S. Ambassador to Denmark,
to his partner, a veterinarian named Stephen DeVincent, at Copenhagen’s
city hall. Among the wedding guests were Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, who had become close friends. Rufus and Stephen were married by the Lord Mayor of Copenhagen.
Contributing to the success of the show is that Gifford, 42 years old and Hollywood handsome, makes sharp, witty comments about what is essentially a boring job – there is virtually no strife between the two nations. The show has followed him around the grand ambassador’s residence, traveling home to Boston to see his parents, making sojourns to Greenland, celebrating a birthday, even spending a night with the elite Danish Frogmen Corps. Gifford steps into his limousine, he steps out of his limousine, he goes to the gym, etc. The series culminates with the ambassador’s wedding to his male partner. A 35-year-old Danish female fan of the show says she isn’t looking for false drama, like that of other reality shows, but that she savors the scenes when Gifford is at home with Mr. DeVincent and their dog, Argos. But there is that one time when Gifford strips down to his Calvins to change into a SWAT suit (not disappointing).
As a result of this show, Gifford’s celebrity in Denmark is such that people on the streets shout, “Hey, Rufus!” and ask him to stop for a selfie, completely forsaking the honorific of his office. And that’s the way he likes it.
All 10 episodes are available for streaming on Netflix: “I Am the
Ambassador”. Note from your blogger: Ambassador Gifford is charming
*Note: last year six gay male ambassadors currently representing our country gathered for an event at D.C.’s Newseum: Ambassador to Australia John Berry, Ambassador to the Dominican Republic James Brewster, Ambassador to Denmark Rufus Gifford, Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Daniel Baer, Ambassador to Spain James Costos and Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius. All were appointed by President Obama and approved by congress. Amazing, since homosexuality was until recent times grounds for dismissal from foreign service. When President Bill Clinton nominated openly gay James Hormel for ambassador to Luxembourg in 1997, Hormel was strongly opposed by some Republican members of congress for his sexual orientation, and the appointment was thus stalled. Clinton then used a recess appointment to install Hormel as ambassador in 1999, making him the first openly gay ambassador to represent the U.S.
Newlyweds Rufus (right) and Stephen leave Copenhagen's city hall: