At least one Atlantan is on Obama’s Team Gay

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imageNearly a year into President Obama’s first term, his actions on LGBT issues hardly matches his rhetoric. But when it comes to hiring the gays, he’s making progress and Atlanta has ties to at least one of his hires.

That honor goes to Harry Knox, who was more appointed than hired when Obama named him earlier this year to the advisory council for the White House Office of Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships. The appointment of the longtime Atlantan caused quite a stir among conservatives — religious and otherwise — mostly because Knox (photo) is a professional gay whose fulltime gig is director of the Human Rights Campaign’s Religion & Faith program.

In other words, here’s an activist that can go verse-for-verse with religious zealots out to quote scripture to impugn every LGBT person they can.

Knox is among a select group of about 100 LGBT people appointed — or infiltrated, depending on your viewpoint — to various posts in the Obama administration. The jobs range from Ebs Burnough as the First Lady’s deputy social secretary — you know that had to be a gay — to Sharon Lubinski as U.S. marshal in Minnesota — a post perfect for a gun-toting lesbian.

With last week’s nomination of Beatrice Hanson as director of the Office of Victims of Crime in the Justice Department, Obama is closing on the record for LGBT appointments.

“Obama has appointed about 100 openly LGBT staff to the executive branch in his first year in office,” Denis Dison, vice president of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, said in an email. “[President] Clinton appointed about 140 over 8 years.”

“Obama is certainly on track to set a record in this regard,” he added.

The Victory Fund has called attention to Obama’s gays through its Presidential Appointments Project, which helped LGBT professionals with the application process during Obama’s transition into the White House. A tip from them: You’ll undergo a full FBI background check. Our translation: If you got busted for cruising the park, that’ll surface somewhere in the hiring process.

Not all of the hires went smoothly. Beyond the public spat over Knox, Marisa Demeo remains in limbo despite her nomination gaining approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 20. Demeo, a lesbian, is a magistrate judge in D.C. And Kevin Jennings has come under fire since his appointment as assistant deputy secretary for safe and drug-free schools in the Education Department.

But other nominations that require Congressional approval, including John Berry as head of the Office of Personnel Management and Lubinski as a U.S. marshal, moved through without a hitch.

Which gays have made it to the Obama administration? The Presidential Appointments Project offers this list:

Mark Agrast- Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legislative Affairs
Judy Applebaum- Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legislative Affairs
Cynthia Attwood- Member, Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission
Vic Basile- Senior Counselor to the Director, Office of Personnel Management
Anthony Bernal- Scheduler, Office of Dr. Jill Biden
Jeremy Bernard- Director of White House and Congressional Affairs, National Endowment for the Humanities
John Berry- Director, Office of Personnel Management
Jeremy Bishop- Special Assistant, Department of Public Engagement at the Department of Labor
Brian Bond- Deputy Director, White House Office of Public Engagement
Raphael Bostic- Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research, Housing and Urban Development
Ebs Burnough- Deputy Social Secretary, Office of the First Lady
Michael Camunez- Special Assistant to the President, Office of Presidential Personnel
Jamison Citron- Confidential Assistant, Office of White House Liaison, Department of Health and Human Services
Brook Colangelo- Chief Information Officer, White House Office of Administration
Jeffrey Crowley- Director, Office of National AIDS Policy
Fred Davie- Member, President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships
Justin DeJong- Deputy Press Secretary, Department of Agriculture
Marisa Demeo- Associate Judge, DC Superior Court
Jenny Durkan- U.S. Attorney, Western District of Washington
John Easton- Director, Institute of Education Sciences
Eric Fanning- Deputy Under Secretary of the Navy
Chai Feldblum- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Erik Goosby- Ambassador at Large and Global AIDS Coordinator, Department of State
Daniel Gordon- Administrator for Federal Procurement Policy, OMB
Kathy Greenlee- Assistant Secretary, Administration on Aging, Department of Health and Human Services
David Hansell- Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Children and Families, Administration for Children and Families
Emily Hewitt- Chief Justice, U.S. Court of Federal Claims
Fred Hochberg- Chairman, U.S. Export-Import Bank
David Huebner- U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand
Glenda Humiston- State Director for Rural Development in California
Shin Inouye- Director, Specialty Media
John Isa- Deputy Executive Director, Federal Office of Compliance
Karine Jean-Pierre- Regional Director, Office of Political Affairs
Kevin Jennings- Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools
Kristina Johnson- Under Secretary, Department of Energy
Jenn Jones- Special Assistant, Department of Housing and Urban Development
Elaine Kaplan- General Counsel, Office of Personnel Management
Brad Kiley- Director, White House Office of Management and Administration
Harry Knox- Member, President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships
Kei Koizumi- Assistant Director for Federal Research and Development, Office of Science and Technology Policy
Andy Lee- Chief of Staff, Office of Innovation and Improvement at the Department of Education
Jeffrey Lerner- Regional Director, Office of Political Affairs
Zach Liscow- Staff Economist, Council of Economic Advisers
Thomas Lopach- Senior Vice President, Congressional Affairs, U.S. Export-Import Bank
Sharon Lubinski- U.S. Marshall
John Marble- Public Affairs Specialist, Office of Personnel Management
Mercedes Marquez- Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development, Department of Housing and Urban Development
Kathy Martinez- Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy, Department of Labor
Mary Beth Maxwell- Senior Advisor, Department of Labor
Philip McNamara- Executive Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
David Medina- Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the First Lady
Alison Nathan- Associate Counsel to the President, White House Counsels Office
Jeffrey Neal- Chief Human Capital Officer, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Ven Neralla- Director of Priority Placement, Presidential Personnel
Dave Noble- White House Liaison, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Matt Nosanchuk- Senior Counselor to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, Department of Justice
Joseph Palacios- Board of Visitors for WHINSEC
Peter Pappas- Administrator for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs, Department of Justice
Raul Perea-Henze- Assistant Secretary of Policy and Planning, Department of Veterans Affairs
Mark Perriello- Director of Priority Placement, Presidential Personnel
Peter Roehrig- Special Assistant, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Ellie Sue Schafer- Director, White House Visitors Office
Richard Sorian- Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, HHS
Campbell Spencer- Regional Director, Office of Political Affairs
Everette Stubbs- Deputy Director, White House Visitors Center
Nancy Sutley- Chair, White House Council on Environmental Quality
Moe Vela- Director of Operations, Office of the Vice President
Alex Wagner- Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Strategic Affairs
William Woolston- Staff Economist, Council of Economic Advisers


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