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U.S. Senate confirms two openly gay nominees to the federal bench

Tuesday, June 17, 2014
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Darrin Gayles

Darrin Gayles

Staci Michelle Yandle

Staci Michelle Yandle

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate on Tuesday confirmed two openly gay nominees to the federal bench, the White House announced.

Senators voted 98-0 to confirm Darrin Gayles to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, and is the first openly gay African American man to be confirmed as a federal judge.

Staci Yandle, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois by a vote of 52-44, is the first African American to serve on her court, and the second openly lesbian African-American woman to be confirmed in the 20 years since President Clinton nominated Deborah Batts to the Southern District of New York.

“President Obama has already nominated more African-American judges and openly gay and lesbian judges than any of his predecessors,” said Eric Lesh, Fair Courts Project Manager for Lambda Legal, in a statement. “Federal courts are charged with providing everyone with equal access to justice, and yet justice has not always been a reality for some. A diverse judiciary serves not only to improve the quality of justice, but to boost public confidence in the courts.”

And by a vote of 92-4, the Senate also confirmed Salvador Mendoza to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington; he will be the first Hispanic judge to serve on his court.

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