A first: Sen. confirms openly gay male judge

WASHINGTON (BP)--For the first time in U.S. history, the Senate July 18 confirmed an openly homosexual man to be a federal judge.

With a vote of 80-13, senators confirmed J. Paul Oetken to be a

U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York. Oetken, though, isn't the first openly homosexual to be confirmed -- just the first male. In 1994, the Senate confirmed U.S. District Judge Deborah Batts, an open lesbian.

Oetken is but the latest homosexual person to be appointed to a federal position by President Obama. Denis Dison, spokesperson for the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, said Obama has appointed more than 200 homosexual persons, included more than 25 that require Senate approval, the Washington Blade newspaper said.

The Senate could act on another openly homosexual person soon. Alison Nathan, an out lesbian who has been nominated to a federal judgeship on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Blade reported.

Obama has also nominated Edward DuMont, an openly homosexual man, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The Judiciary Committee has yet to act on his nomination.

To see how senators votes on Oetken, visit http://1.usa.gov/n77c0Z.

Retired federal judge Vaughn Walker, who issued the ruling overturning California Proposition 8, also was gay, but he was not openly so when confirmed.


Compiled by Michael Foust, associate editor of Baptist Press.

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