flagPresident Barack Obama today appointed Rufus Gifford as the next U.S. ambassador to Denmark, and James Costos as ambassador to Spain.  Both men are openly gay.

“We congratulate Rufus Gifford and James Costos, whose nominations reflect the president’s strong commitment to eliminating barriers to public service for LGBT Americans.  I’m confident they will both represent the United States with distinction,” said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Institute.

James Costos is Vice President of Global Licensing and Retail for Home Box Office (HBO).  He began his career in New York as a fashion and retail executive.  From 2001 to 2002, he was Vice President of Retail for Hermes in New York, and from 1991 to 2001, he was Vice President of Retail Operations for Tod’s in New York.  Mr. Costos currently serves on the Board of Directors of The Humane Society of the United States.  He received a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts.

Rufus Gifford most recently served as Finance Chair of the Presidential Inaugural Committee.  He served as Finance Director for Obama for America from 2011 to 2012, and as Finance Director for the Democratic National Committee from 2009 to 2011.  From 2008 to 2009, he was the California Finance Director for the Presidential Inaugural Committee, after working as a political consultant in California from 2004 to 2008.  He received a B.A. from Brown University.

The nominations must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.