Photography by Ryan Pfluger at their home in New York on September 11, 2015.
It was a summer of milestones for James Costos (right), who’s been the U.S. ambassador to Spain and Andorra since 2013, and his partner, Michael Smith, a designer responsible for the 2010 redesign of the Oval Office. On June 26, the couple watched close friends embrace each other outside the Supreme Court when it ruled in favor of marriage equality in the United States, and the following week they celebrated the 10th anniversary of it in Spain. But even in places, like Spain, that seem ahead of the curve when it comes to gay rights, Costos insists there’s room to grow. “Discrimination and abuse still exist at all levels of society,” Costos says. “Marriage equality is a great thing, but it doesn’t solve all the issues we’re facing.”