Rufus Gifford, a former Los Angeles resident and openly gay man who was profiled in the 2008 L.A. Weekly feature story “Obama's Gay Gold Mine,” has been nominated by President Barack Obama to be the next ambassador of Denmark. The nomination builds upon the president's strong gay-friendly record.
In 2008, Gifford and his then-business partner and boyfriend Jeremy Bernard, who's become the White House social secretary, were leading fund raisers for the Obama campaign. Gifford and Bernard had top connections to L.A.'s entertainment industry, which doled out millions to Obama.
“Rufus Gifford is a terrific choice to represent our country in Denmark,” says Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin in a press statement. “His demonstrated leadership and unwavering commitment to democracy and human rights will serve him well as he represents America's interests abroad. I urge the Senate to confirm his nomination.”
A native of Manchester, Massachusetts, Gifford had once worked for Davis Entertainment, where he developed and produced family comedies such as Garfield and Daddy Day Care. He told the Weekly that he found the work “wildly unfulfilling.”
In 2004, Gifford switched to politics, fundraising for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, who lost to George W. Bush.
Gifford continued to do fund raising for Democratic candidates and built up a strong track record. Then presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama asked for his services, along with Bernard's. They chose Obama.
Gifford told the Weekly, “We work for candidates who we ourselves would be willing to give money to.”
He added, “Being gay makes you inherently political. You see what's right and what's wrong, and you need to do something about it.”
If Gifford is confirmed, the United States may have a total of six openly gay ambassadors around the world.