White House names openly gay fundraiser as first male Social Secretary

The White House last Friday (February 25) announced the naming of an openly gay man to assume the position as President Obama’s Social Secretary.

Jeremy Bernard, a senior adviser to the U.S. ambassador to France at the embassy in Paris, will become the first man and the first openly gay person to hold the position of Social Secretary. The position is charged with planning and supervising a wide variety of official White House events, from state dinners and teas to concerts and egg rolling festivals.

This marks the second presidential appointment under President Obama for Bernard. His first appointment was to serve as the White House liaison to the National Endowment for the Humanities. He was also appointed by President Clinton to serve on the Advisory Committee on the Arts for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese issued a statement calling Bernard’s appointment as White House Social Secretary “historic.”

“We celebrate his appointment not merely because of the ground that he is breaking but because we know that he will serve the President and First Lady exceptionally well,” said Solmonese. “He is competent, gracious under pressure and has distinguished himself as a leader in a number of fields. The President and Mrs. Obama could not have selected a better candidate to ensure that all Americans are welcomed to the ‘people’s house.’”

Bernard, a native of San Antonio and well-known fundraiser in California for both the Obama campaign and the Democratic Party, served on the Democratic National Committee until 2009. He worked early on for longtime gay Democratic activist David Mixner.

Bernard also marks the 155th appointment of an openly LGBT person to the Obama administration, according to the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund’s Presidential Project list. He is a former member of the boards of the Victory Fund, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and the Access Now for Gay and Lesbian Equality (ANGLE), a Los Angeles-based LGBT fundraising group.

Another openly gay man, Ebs Burnough, currently serves as one of two Deputy White House Social Secretaries.

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