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President Obama plans to nominate openly gay lawyer David Huebner as the U.S. ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, a move that comes just days ahead of the president's planned speech before a gay rights fundraising dinner on Saturday and a movement march on Washington on Sunday, The Associated Press reports.
Huebner, a Shanghai-based arbitration and mediation lawyer, would become the third openly gay ambassador in the nation’s history, if confirmed by the Senate. He holds degrees from Princeton University and Yale Law School and currently serves as general counsel to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
Gay rights groups have criticized Obama for moving too slowly on campaign promises to push for expanded benefits for gay couples and repealing of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Obama also drew heat for asking evangelical Rev. Rick Warren, a gay marriage opponent, to speak at his inauguration.
"At its core, this issue is about who we are as Americans," Obama said while campaigning for president. "It's about whether this nation is going to live up to its founding promise of equality by treating all its citizens with dignity and respect."
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