Justice Dept. names openly gay attorney to No. 3 position

Stuart Delery

Stuart Delery

WASHINGTON — The head of the Justice Department‘s Civil Division has been promoted to the department’s No. 3 job, becoming the highest ranking openly gay official to ever serve in the department.

Stuart Delery

Stuart Delery

Stuart Delery, who argued on behalf of the federal government in a 2012 appeals court case that ultimately led to a Supreme Court decision overturning a key section of the Defense of Marriage Act, will now serve as acting associate attorney general.

He has since been involved in the implementation of the DOMA decision, enabling the federal government to start granting benefits to married same-sex couples.

He replaces Tony West, who is leaving the department later this month.

In a statement, Attorney General Eric Holder called Delery an “exceptional public servant, a dedicated colleague, and a superb lawyer.”

Delery will serve his role in an acting capacity until President Barack Obama nominates him for the permanent position.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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