Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Obama Nominates Black Gay Man For Federal Judgeship

President Obama has decided to try and make history again by appointing the first openly gay, African American male federal judge in our nation's history. He had nominated William L. Thomas to be a federal judge just days after the 2012 presidential elections. Thomas is an openly gay, African American male judge. But the Thomas nomination was stalled when U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) blocked the nomination (despite the fact his office had explicitly supported the nomination previously). LGBT advocates were extremely disappointed by Sen. Rubio's actions and called attention to his record of anti-LGBT statements and behaviors.

Today the President decided to try again by nominating another openly gay Black man, Darrin Gayles to the same federal judgeship that Thomas had been blocked from by Senator Rubio.
Judge Darrin P. Gayles:  Nominee for the United States District Court for the Southern District of FloridaJudge Darrin P. Gayles has served as a Circuit Judge in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida since 2011.  From 2004 to 2011, he was a County Judge in the same Circuit.  From 1999 to 2004, Judge Gayles served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and from 1997 to 1999, he served as an Assistant District Counsel at the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service.  Judge Gayles began his legal career as an Assistant State Attorney in the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office from 1993 to 1997.  Judge Gayles received his J.D. in 1993 from George Washington University Law School and his B.A. in 1990 from Howard University.  
As we did with the Thomas nomination, we will be following the Gayles nomination very closely here at Acording to Poliglot, Gayles name was on a list that Senator Rubio confirmed that he had no opposition to if they were nominated. In fact, Rubio's ffice even gave a statement to Metro Weekly, a D.C.-based LGBT newsmagazine about the Gayles nomination:
"I welcome today's four nominations to the district courts in Florida. As I previously indicated to the President, I do not anticipate having an objection to moving forward on any of these nominations pending the outcome of the customary background check conducted on every nominee," Rubio stated. "I am disappointed, however that given the opportunity to fill four vacancies on the court, the White House has declined to nominate any of the Republican finalists jointly suggested by Senator Nelson and myself." 
Happy Black History Month!

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