James Hormel was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in 1995 and was nominated to be U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg in 1997, however anti-LGBTQ+ U.S. senators blocked a vote on his confirmation. Yet in 1999, President Clinton gave him a recess appointment and he was sworn in as America’s first out LGBTQ+ ambassador by Secretary of State Madeline Albright in June of that year. He would serve in that role until the end of the administration. His confirmation hearing, while laced with homophobic attacks, would pave the way for President Barack Obama to appoint seven out LGBTQ+ ambassadors during his administration.
U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg (1999 – 2001)