President Obama supports gay marriage. The next step, say activists, is for him to appoint an openly gay Cabinet member.
Last summer President Obama made history by announcing his support for gay marriage. Now the LGBT community is looking for the next step: appointing an openly gay person to a cabinet post.
There are two LGBT candidates that the gay community touts for high level office–and both of them already serve in the Obama Administration. John Berry, currently the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, is Obama’s highest-ranking openly gay political appointee. Berry has long been rumored to be the choice to lead the Interior Department (where he served in the Clinton Administration as an assistant secretary). The Washington Post once said Berry was “seen as a star over there [at the White House] and one of the stars in the Obama world over all.”
“John is one of the most talented managers in government,” said Steve Elmendorf, former Deputy Campaign Manager to John Kerry’s Presidential Campaign and newly elected Chair of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund. “He’s qualified to run almost any cabinet agency but particularly Interior because of his experience there, as Director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and as Director of the National Zoo.”
Fred Hochberg, Chairman and President of the Export-Import Bank, is another openly gay rising star in the Obama Administration. Hochberg is widely speculated to be under consideration for Commerce Secretary or as the U.S. Trade Representative. “They are definitely looking at Fred,” said one source familiar with the process. “They’re carefully considering him and they’re pleased with his record at the bank,” the source said of the White House.
Hochberg, once a Hillary loyalist who later raised and bundled donations for Obama after he secured the nomination in 2008, is well respected by the business community and the Export-Import Bank has set record finance exports under his leadership.