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04/19/2007


Massachusetts Gets First Openly Gay High Court Justice as Panel Confirms Barbara Lenk

Following confirmation hearings that at moments featured ugly attacks from conservatives over her sexuality, Barbara Lenk was approved today for Massachusetts' Supreme Judicial Court and will be its first openly gay justice.

The Boston Globe reports: Lenk

The Governor’s Council confirmed Lenk on a 5-3 vote. She is Governor Deval Patrick’s fourth appointment to the seven-member SJC, which issued the landmark 2003 ruling that made Massachusetts the first state to legalize same-sex marriage.

Lenk, who married her partner, Debra Krupp, after the ruling, has 18 years’ experience on the bench, a degree from Harvard Law School, and a doctorate in political philosophy from Yale. Patrick nominated her to replace Justice Judith A. Cowin, who is retiring.

Said Lenk during the hearings: "Every person who wears a judicial robe has had life experiences that leave their mark. Mine have been rich and varied, bridging many divides, and these experiences allow me to see things from many perspectives."


Anti-Gay Councilor Hammers Openly Lesbian Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Nominee Barbara Lenk

Anti-gay Massachusetts Councilor Charles O. Cipollini hammered lesbian nominee Barbara Lenk yesterday in her confirmation hearings for the state's Supreme Judicial Court, South Coast Today reports:

Cipollini Wednesday he said "I am tired of attempts by the court to redefine common words ... especially those that we hold dear, like marriage."

"Will the definition of spaghetti be next?"

He wanted details of cases that involved Lenk as judge that dealt "homosexual and lesbian issues." He asked if she thought same-sex marriage was settled law.

Lenk said she believed the judicial decision regarding same-sex marriage in the state was settled law.

Before Cipollini's comments, Lenk, who has served as an Appeals Court judge for more than 15 years, told the nine-member council: "I believe that my decisions, along with the way I have conducted myself as a judge, reflect my commitment to the fair and equal treatment of all people under the law."

Added Lenk: "Every person who wears a judicial robe has had life experiences that leave their mark. Mine have been rich and varied, bridging many divides, and these experiences allow me to see things from many perspectives."

The Governor's Council is expected to vote on the nomination next week. Lenk would be the first openly gay member of the state's highest court.


Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick Nominates Out Lesbian Barbara Lenk to Supreme Judicial Court

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has nominated Barbara Lenk, an openly gay associate justice of the state Appeals Court, to a seat on the state's Supreme Judicial Court, the Boston Globe reports:

Lenk If confirmed by the Governor’s Council, Lenk would be the first openly gay judge on the state’s highest court, which issued the landmark 2003 ruling that made Massachusetts the first state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004.

The nomination of Lenk comes after the governor named Roderick Ireland to be the first African-American chief justice of the SJC, and Fernande R.V. Duffly to be the first Asian-American judge on the state’s high court. Patrick has spoken of his desire to make the judiciary and other branches of government more reflective of the state's diversity.

A specialist in civil litigation and First Amendment issues, Lenk holds a doctorate in political philosophy from Yale University and a law degree from Harvard Law School.

Lenk would fill the seat vacated by Justice Judith A. Cowin, who is stepping down in April

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