He's only halfway through his term, but President Obama has broken Bill Clinton's record for the number of openly gay appointees to his administration.
Gay activists say the estimate of more than 150 appointments so far — from agency heads and commission members to policy officials and senior staffers — surpasses the previous high of about 140 reached during two full terms under President Bill Clinton. "From everything we hear from inside the administration, they wanted this to be part of their efforts at diversity," said Denis Dison, spokesman for the Presidential Appointments Project of the Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute. The pace of appointments has helped to ease broader disappointment among gay rights groups that Obama has not acted more quickly on other fronts, such as ending the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that bans gays from serving openly in the military. In a sign of how times have changed, few of the appointees — about two dozen required Senate confirmation — have stirred much controversy.Obama's highest-ranking openly gay appointee so far is Office of Personnel Management director John Berry, who oversees almost two million federal employees.