U.S. Vice President Swears in Gay U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand


December 7, 2009

Vice President Swears in Gay U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand

David Huebner becomes first openly gay politically-appointed ambassador confirmed by the U.S. Senate

Washington, DC – Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies (GLIFAA) congratulates the new U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand and the Independent State of Samoa, David Huebner.  Vice President Biden swore-in Huebner at a ceremony in the South Court Auditorium at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Friday, November 4.  Ambassador Huebner becomes the first openly gay politically-appointed ambassador confirmed by the U.S. Senate as well as the first openly gay ambassador nominated by President Obama. GLIFAA board members and others in our organization were honored to present at the swearing-in ceremony.  We wish Ambassador Huebner the very best as he heads to Wellington, New Zealand, where he’ll soon be joined by Dr. Duane McWaine, his partner of 20 years.  Dr. McWaine has received the first U.S. diplomatic passport issued to the same-sex partner of a U.S. ambassador. View the Official White House Video of the swearing-in ceremony.Read about the ceremony here. Ambassador Huebner previously served as the head of the China Practice and the International Disputes Practice at Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton, where he specialized in international arbitration and mediation.  Based in Shanghai, he gained significant experience handling disputes in the Pacific Rim region.  Also he served as a long-time partner and chairman at Coudert Brothers.  While a resident in California, Mr. Huebner chaired the California Law Revision Commission, served as president of the Los Angeles Quality & Productivity Commission, and taught courses in international business and intellectual property at the University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law.  He has also guest lectured on international topics at several schools in the United States and abroad, and is licensed both as a solicitor in England & Wales and as an attorney in three U.S. jurisdictions. Huebner has served actively in non-profits, community organizations, and professional associations such as the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, International Chamber of Commerce Commission on Arbitration, Los Angeles Committee on Foreign Relations, and Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). A native of Pennsylvania, Mr. Huebner is a summa cum laude graduate of Princeton University, where he majored at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He is also a graduate of Yale Law School. Dr. McWaine, who plans to place his psychiatry career on hold, served as Medical Director at Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center and as a psychiatrist in private practice in West Los Angeles.  Completing internship and residency at Harbor General/UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, he served in private practice since 1988 and became Medical Director of Didi Hirsch in 1996.  In 1999 he joined the faculty at UCLA as Clinical Instructor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences.  His practice interests include mood disorders, HIV-related psychiatric disorders, drug-drug interactions, and the chronically mentally ill. As requested by the Police Commission of the Los Angeles Police Department, Dr. McWaine served on the Police Commission Task Force on the Mentally Disabled working to improve training of law enforcement personnel regarding interactions with mentally ill citizens.  In addition, Governor Gray Davis named Dr. McWaine as a member of the State Council on Mentally Ill Offenders in October of 2002.  The council investigates and promotes cost effective approaches to meeting the long term needs of people with mental disorders who are likely to become offenders or have a history of offending.  He has also served on the Boards of the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center and the Southern California Physicians for Human Rights.  Dr. McWaine completed his undergraduate studies at Princeton University in 1980 and medical school at the University of Southern California in 1984. GLIFAA, officially recognized by the U.S. State Department, represents lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) personnel and their families in the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Foreign Commercial Service, Foreign Agricultural Service, and other foreign affairs agencies and offices in the U.S. Government. Founded in 1992 by fewer than a dozen employees who faced official harassment simply because of their sexual orientation, GLIFAA continues to seek equality and fairness for LGBT employees and their families.