Rufus Gifford, a former U.S. ambassador
to Denmark during the Obama years, on Monday was sworn in as the
State Department chief of protocol, making him the latest
high-ranking out official in the Biden administration.
Late last month, the U.S. Senate
confirmed Gifford to the role. Gifford said in a tweet that he was
“humbled” by the Senate's approval.
“I am humbled [and] reminded that gay
people were routinely denied security clearances in the US as
recently as 1995,” he wrote. “As a twice confirmed Ambassador, I
think about my predecessors denied these opportunities. Progress.”
The position of chief of protocol comes
with the rank of ambassador.
Gifford, 47, posted a photo on Facebook
of himself being sworn in with his husband, veterinarian Stephen
DeVincent, by his side.
“Today, with my right hand in the
air, my left hand on an American flag which flew over Embassy
Copenhagen given to me by the Marines five years ago, my wonderful
husband by my side and my head and my heart full of emotion I took
the oath to serve as Chief of Protocol of the United States with the
rank of Ambassador,” Gifford wrote. “An honor like this so rarely
comes around – let alone twice – and I promise to serve with
dignity, respect and heart.”
In his new role, Gifford, who served as
deputy campaign manager for the Biden campaign, will engage with
foreign leaders on U.S. foreign policy.
Gifford and DeVincent married in 2015
as Gifford served as ambassador to Denmark. The couple became the
subject of a reality series, I Am The Ambassador. The series
streamed briefly on Netflix.
In 2018, Gifford lost a 10-way
Democratic primary election to the U.S. House in Massachusetts to
Congresswoman Lori Trahan.
Gifford has also served as a
high-profile fundraiser for the Democratic Party.