First openly gay US ambassador, James Hormel dies

Homel was nominated by President Clinton as the US Ambassador to Luxembourg in 1997.

San Francisco — The first openly gay US ambassador and philanthropist James Hormel to fight AIDS and fund the organization to promote human rights has died. He was 88 years old.

Homel died in a San Francisco hospital with her husband Michael on Friday, and the San Francisco Chronicle reported while listening to his favorite Beethoven Concerto.

Senator Dianne Feinstein of D-California praised Homel as a pioneer of living civil rights in an “extraordinary life.”

“I miss his kind heart and generous spirit. It’s those qualities that made him such an inspiring person and the beloved part of our city,” she said.

In 1997, then President Bill Clinton nominated Homel as the US Ambassador to Luxembourg. Conservative Senate Republicans blocked the nomination. But two years later, Clinton appointed him using executive privilege during a parliamentary adjournment.

“The process was very long, energetic, painstaking, insulting, misleading, lying, deceptive, and hostile,” Homel said in West Hollywood, California. I said in 2012 when I visited a bookstore to promote my memoirs. Suitable for serve. “

He had never received confirmation in the Senate vote, but told the audience that “in the end, much was achieved.” case. “

Openly gay, US Secretary of Transportation Pete Butigeg said he was inspired by Homel’s fight for confirmation as a teenager.

“I remember seeing the news,” he said after the nomination of President Joe Biden. We saw how we could overcome these restrictions. “

Homel served as ambassador from June 1999 to 2000.

Clinton and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said they were deeply saddened by Homel’s death.

“Jim devoted his life to raising the rights and dignity of all, and in his pioneering service in the diplomatic corps, he honoredly represented the United States and made us realize the meaning of a more complete coalition. I brought it closer, “said the Clintons statement.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who held a wedding with Homel’s husband, said Homel “has a mission to fight for the dignity and equality of all,” a health, arts and education organization. Mentioned contributions to philanthropy.

“When the AIDS epidemic hit San Francisco, he called our conscience and rallyed the cities to help our neighbors suffering from a ferocious illness,” Pelosi said in a statement. .. “His work served as a model for national policy to defeat HIV / AIDS and improve the lives of all affected people.”

Hormel was the heir to the property of Hormel Foods. Born in Austin, Minnesota, Hormel married college lover Alice McElroy Parker and had five children before divorcing in 1965. I moved to San Francisco in 1977.

He was a former Dean of the University of Chicago Law School, where he earned a degree.

Homel co-founded the Human Rights Campaign to help fund a number of arts, education and human rights activities, including the San Francisco Public Library’s Gay and Lesbian Centers. National AIDS Memorial Grove; American AIDS Research Foundation; and American Conservatory Theater.

In addition to his husband, Homel has survived with five children, fourteen grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

First openly gay US ambassador, James Hormel dies

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