James Hormel, the first openly gay U.S. ambassador and a philanthropist who funded organizations to fight AIDS and promote human rights, has died. He was 88. Hormel died Friday at a San Francisco hospital with his husband, Michael, at his side and while listening to his favorite Beethoven concerto. In 1997, then-President Bill Clinton nominated Hormel to become U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg. Conservative Senate Republicans blocked the nomination. But two years later, Clinton used executive privilege to appoint him during the Congressional recess. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, who is openly gay, has said that as a teenager he was inspired by Hormel’s confirmation fight.
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