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State supreme court nominee could be first out gay man to win position

Joseph McCormick January 9, 2018

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 25: Gov. Dan Malloy (D-CT) delivers a speech on the first day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Philadelphia, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Democratic National Convention kicked off July 25. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

A nominee for a state Supreme Court could be the first in the US as an out gay man selected for the position.

Governor Dannel Malloy nominated his longtime friend and Associate Supreme Court Justice Andrew McDonald to be Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court.

The position becomes available as Chief Justice Chase Rogers retires in February.

In a statement, Malloy said: “Justice McDonald has proven himself to be a consummate, revered jurist who has an exceptional ability to understand, analyze, research, and evaluate legal issues.

“He has a deep understanding of the role and the impact that the justice system has on the everyday lives of Connecticut residents, and the value of ensuring equality and fairness through the court’s many responsibilities. His experience having served as an Associate Justice on our state’s highest court, where he has undertaken some of the most complicated of cases in the state, will benefit him well in the position of Chief Justice.

Adding: “I am pleased that Justice McDonald has agreed to accept this challenge, and I am confident that his years of distinguished service on the bench will serve him well in this leadership capacity.”

The first out gay Chief Justice in the world was appointed in 2016 when Puerto Rico appointed Maite Oronoz Rodriguez.

In 2014, Rodriguez, an out lesbian, became the first gay person to be nominated for the court.

Paying tribute to her partner, Rodriguez told El Nuevo Dia: “Thank you for your unconditional support through the hardest of times, and through the best of times, like today… I wouldn’t be here without you.

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“I am conscious of the enormous responsibility that has come to me.”

Her partner Mendez Miro added: “The governor has exercised his constitutional knowledge, and named someone who he understands is the best candidate. And I agree with him.”

51-year-old McDonald has served on the Connecticut Supreme Court for five years.

He previously served as general counsel for the Governor Malloy’s office.

McDonald also worked as general counsel for a state senator from Stamford and corporation counsel for the city of Stamford where Malloy was mayor.

The state legislature must now confirm McDonald’s appointment.

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“I am deeply grateful to Governor Malloy for the confidence and trust he has placed in me with this nomination,” McDonald said in a statement.

“If confirmed by the legislature, it would be the honor of a lifetime to continue the great and tireless work of Chief Justice Rogers administering justice on behalf of the people of Connecticut in a fair, timely, transparent and efficient manner.”

The US has a mixed track record on chief justices after Roy Moore, an adamant homophobe, was ordered to clear out his desk after going on a crusade against same-sex weddings.

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Moore went on to run one of the most anti-LGBT campaigns for Alabama’s state senate, and eventually lost to Democrat Doug Jones.

He was also accused of sexual misconduct by several women and a 14-year-old.

And to add insult to injury, Doug Jones’ son spoke in an impassioned interview about coming out as gay and being accepted by his dad.

More: andrew mcdonald, Connecticut, dannel malloy, US

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