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Three gay nominees among the 27 confirmed by U.S. Senate

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The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed three openly LGBT individuals to high-ranking roles in the Obama administration — including a gay man to a top position in the Defense Department — as part of 27 nominees that moved forward by unanimous consent.

Senators confirmed Douglas Wilson, who’s gay, to the position of assistant secretary of defense for public affairs. During the Clinton administration, he had served as the Pentagon’s deputy assistant secretary for public affairs.

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which prevents openly gay people from serving the U.S. military, doesn’t apply to Wilson because he was appointed to a civilian position in the Defense Department.

The Senate also confirmed Cynthia Atwood, a lesbian, to the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The body is an independent federal agency that rules over contests of citations or penalties of OSHA inspections in the American workplace.

For the last three years, Atwood has been an administrative appeals judge for the Labor Department’s administrative review board, and for eight years was an attorney adviser for that board.

Additionally, senators confirmed David Mills, who’s gay, as assistant secretary of commerce for export enforcement. Mills had served as chief of licensing at the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and in the Office of Chief Counsel for Export Administration. Most recently, he was an attorney for the D.C. office of the law firm DLA Piper.

The three gay officials were nominated to their positions after being recommended by the Presidential Appointments Project, a Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund-led initiative that helps openly LGBT individuals get appointments in the Obama administration.

Denis Dison, a Victory Fund spokesperson, praised the Senate for confirming Wilson, Atwood and Mills.

“We’re glad the Senate finally confirmed these three outstanding individuals,” he said. “They are proof that the president is focused on finding the best people to work in his administration, and we’re proud they’ve stepped up to serve their country.”

The Senate confirmed the officials after President Obama threatened to use his power to make recess appointments for his nominees. Holds by Republican senators had prevented the confirmation of more than 63 nominees.

In a statement, President Obama commended the Senate for allowing 27 nominations to move forward, but said he still may make recess appointments if the Senate doesn’t act on more nominees when it comes back from break.

“While this is a good first step, there are still dozens of nominees on hold who deserve a similar vote, and I will be looking for action from the Senate when it returns from recess,” Obama said. “If they do not act, I reserve the right to use my recess appointment authority in the future.”

According to the Victory Fund, the three confirmations bring the total number of openly LGBT appointees in the Obama adminstration to just over 100, including 22 Senate-confirmed officials. Clinton had about 140 openly LGBT appointees over the course of eight years in his administration.

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National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Certifies Brown, Naff, Pitts Omnimedia, Inc

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Washington, D.C. — Brown, Naff, Pitts Omnimedia, Inc, the parent company of the Washington Blade and Azer Creative, announced today it has been certified by the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) as an LGBT Business Enterprise. The NGLCC supports and advocates for diversity and inclusion for LGBT-owned businesses. With this certification the Blade’s parent company joins more than 510 business and 134 corporate partners of the NGLCC.

Brown, Naff, Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. owns and operates the Washington Blade, the oldest and most acclaimed LGBT newspaper in the country. In 2012, the company launched Azer Creative, a full-service design firm. The company employs more than a dozen full-time LGBT staff.

“We are excited to become one of the 500 LGBT businesses across the country certified by NGLCC,” said Lynne Brown, the Blade’s publisher and a co-owner of the company. “The LGBT community has been part of our company from the beginning and we look forward to continue that for many years to come.”

The Washington Blade was founded in 1969 and is known as the “newspaper of record” for the LGBT community both locally and nationally. Visit washingtonblade.com for more information. Azer Creative is a full-service graphic design firm based in Washington, D.C. Visit azercreative.com for more information. 

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Vote now for the 2013 Best of Gay DC!

Choose in dozens of categories among hundreds of nominees, and make your voice heard!

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Nominate the ‘Best of Gay D.C.’ now!

Dozens of categories cover all the best for LGBT Washington. Who deserves the prize this year?

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Best of Gay D.C., Gay news, Washington Blade
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