First Openly Homosexual Man Confirmed as US Federal Judge

Posted July 19th, 2011 at 12:35 am (UTC-5)
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The U.S. Senate has confirmed the nation's first openly gay male federal judge.

By a vote of 80-13, lawmakers confirmed Paul Oetken to fill a judiciary vacancy in the state of New York. Oetken was first nominated to the post in January by President Barack Obama.

New York Senator Charles Schumer, who recommended Oetken to Mr. Obama for nomination, called the confirmation a sign of how much the U.S. has achieved in “just the last few decades.”

Oetken served as a law clerk to the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun, then held posts at the U.S. Justice Department and associate counsel to former president Bill Clinton. He is currently an associate counsel for a New York-based cable television channel.

Deborah Batts, a lesbian, has served as a federal judge since 1994.