Senate to Vote on Gay Nominee for Federal Bench on Monday

The U.S. Senate will vote on Monday on the nomination of J. Paul Oetken, an attorney who would be the first openly gay man to serve on the federal bench, the Washington Blade reports:

Oetken A Senate Democratic aide said the vote on J. Paul Oetken’s nomination would take place on Monday at 5:30 pm. President Obama nominated Oetken in January for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The aide said unanimous consent was reached in the Senate to vote on the Oetken nomination, so Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) won’t need to file cloture and find 60 votes to proceed. For confirmation, a simple majority of senators must approve Oetken by a up-or-down vote.

Oetken was nominated by Obama in January. In April, his nomination was advanced by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Another one of Obama's gay nominees, Edward C. DuMont, has not yet received a confirmation hearing.


  1. yuninv says

    Would someone please tell me what this person’s sexual orientation has to do with ANYTHING?

  2. Stupid says

    When a group has been suffered discrimination for a long time, and that discrimination subsides to a point where they are able to hold high ranking public office, then it is a big deal. That’s what his sexual orientation has to do with it. Did it not matter that Obama was the first black president? Don’t ask stupid questions.

  3. yuninv says

    Gay people have been holding high ranking public office since before Alexander the Great, so that portion of your point is moot. If the only thing that is different now is that it is “openly” that’s not the same thing as Obama being the first black president, and you know it.

    So, while you may consider my question to be stupid based solely on your hypersensitive insecurities, my question still stands… what does it matter what is sexual orientation is? He won’t be the first gay Federal judge – he’ll just be the first OPENLY gay Federal judge – and I hardly see what the big deal about that is.

  4. Stupid says

    No, nothing you said negates any of my point. Obviously it is the “openly” part that is important. That matters because not very long ago a president could not (and probably would not) have nominated an openly gay judge. The fact that there have been closeted judges is irrelevant because there obviously would not be any kind of political backlash against a president who nominated a judge who nobody knew was gay. The point of the story is that openly gay people now have a chance to be a federal judge, something that they did not have before.

    Also, I stand by the fact that your question was stupid. I’m not sure how me calling your question stupid showed me to be hypersensitive. (P.S. If you are going to try to make it seem like you aren’t stupid by using big words, try to use them correctly…”insecurities” cannot be “hypersensitive”. I might be insecure and hypersensitive, or have hypersensitivity and insecurities, but “hypersensitive insecurities” doesn’t make sense.)

  5. kr76 says

    The big deal is that unlike in previous eras (like say, 30 years ago), public disclosure of his sexual orientation, whether intentional or otherwise, won’t result in a scandal. Gay people may have served as judges or other public officials in the past, but they certainly didn’t do so openly, and even when they tried to keep their sexual orientation private (which they shouldn’t have had to do in the first place), they could still be persecuted–read about the Lavender Scare of the 1950s if you doubt that. He can’t be blackmailed for fear of losing his job, or publicly exposed and shamed, or run out of office, or forced to resign, or criminally prosecuted and imprisoned. He can take his spouse to official events, just like his straight counterparts, and not have to hide the nature of their relationship. He can serve as an example to other gay people that they can live their lives openly, just like straight people do, without fear or limitations on their career prospects. That’s the big deal.

  6. Brian says

    I agree with Stupid and KR76….it IS a big deal. Obama gets a lot of flack from the gay community; it is good to see some of his pro-equality measures and nominations move forward.

  7. ohplease says

    “So, while you may consider my question to be stupid based solely on your hypersensitive insecurities…”

    If it helps, I consider your question to be stupid because it is stupid. Which isn’t the least bit surprising, considering the source.

    By the way, stupid plus rude? Not the best combination. You might want to quit while you’re behind.

  8. Rowan says

    Stupid I agree with you. That other guy was off his nut.

    This is not a big deal? Uh huh.