Pro-gay groups are urging the Senate to block Barack Obama’s appointment of a district judge who opposes same-sex marriage.

Michael Boggs, currently an appeals court judge, was first nominated by Obama in December to become a US District Judge in Georgia.

His nomination by Obama was considered a conciliatory move to Republicans, but  more than 25 rights groups have signed a letter urging the Democrat-controlled Senate to reject his nomination, including the Human Rights Campaign, the National Centre for Lesbian Rights, the Alliance for Justice and the pro-equal marriage law centre Lambda Legal.

The groups raise concern about his views - including opposition to same-sex marriage, employment discrimination laws, and a previous vote to keep the Confederate insignia on the state flag.

It states: “Based on his recent public statements and his voting record in the Georgia legislature, we must conclude that Judge Boggs’ views make him a serious threat to the future of our domestic civil rights – particularly those relating to employment discrimination, voting rights, access to public accommodations, school desegregation, women’s health, and marriage equality.

“Boggs’ record in the legislature on issues of marriage equality serves as further evidence of the threat his nomination poses to civil rights jurisprudence.

“While in the Georgia state legislature, Boggs voted in favour of a constitutional amendment banning marriage for gay and lesbian couples.

“During his campaign for a seat on the Georgia Superior Court, Boggs was quoted in the press as stating, ‘I am proud of my record. You don’t have to guess where I stand – I oppose same-sex marriages. I have a record that tells you exactly what I stand for’.

“For the above reasons, we urge you to reject the confirmation of Michael P. Boggs to the U.S. District
Court for the Northern District of Georgia.”

Two Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have already declared they will vote against Boggs’ appointment.