Syndicated courtroom TV programmes become a little more diverse starting this week’s premiere of Judge David Young, the first courtroom show with an openly gay sitting judge.

The half-hour show is produced by Sony Pictures Television and has been picked up by stations in most major markets.

While Sony has made no secret of Young’s sexual orientation, they are distinguishing the quick-witted judge as “confrontational, caring and always entertaining” and as a man “known for his fierce intelligence and occasional bursts into show tunes.”

But the fact that he is openly gay does distinguish Young from other television judges.

“I don’t tolerate bigotry, because as a gay man I’ve witnessed bigotry first hand,” Young recently told The Advocate.

Judge Young came to national attention in 2005 during the high-profile trial of two America West airline pilots, whom he sentenced to jail time for attempting to operate a plane while intoxicated.

Young’s history of being tough on alcoholics and addicts has garnered him three Awards of Distinction from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

Young attended Tulane University and the Miami School of Law, and went on to serve as Assistant State Attorney in Miami-Dade County under Janet Reno. He was later elected to three terms as a circuit court judge.

Young currently lives in Miami with Scott Bernstein, a fellow judge and his partner of 12 years.

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