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Hawaii governor appoints lesbian judge to state Supreme Court

Wednesday, January 26, 2011
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Sabrina McKenna

HONOLULU — Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) has nominated lesbian judge Sabrina McKenna to the state’s Supreme Court.

“I don’t think I ever would have imagined achieving this kind of honor in my life,” McKenna said. “I do think that the world is changing, and I think that my appointment is an example of that.”

“I think the reason I am willing to have this interview is that I want the young people to know that it doesn’t matter who you are,” McKenna said, telling reporters that she believes her sexual orientation is important to talk about.

McKenna, 53, who has spent the last 17 years as a family court judge, attended Tuesday’s announcement in the governor’s office with her partner, Denise Yamashiro, and their three children.

She said the message of her appointment is important for young people.

“Whether you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, be yourself.” McKenna said. ”Be honest with yourself, even if people reject you, just do your best and anything is possible if you work hard and try hard.”

Abercrombie, in announcing her nomination, told the gathered press corps that McKenna’s appointment had everything to do with her intelligence, temperament and legal knowledge, and nothing to do with her sexuality.

McKenna’s confirmation hearing will coincide with the just-launched effort to pass civil unions in Hawaii, but legislators say that issue will not effect their assessment of her candidacy.

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