Nov 14 2012




Almost immediately, LGBT Americans are seeing the benefits for all of the hard work in the last election. According to Chris Geidner of, The President has nominated Judge William Thomas to serve on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Judge Thomas will be the first openly gay African American male ever to serve in the federal court system.

Geidner writes:

Thomas is the first out LGBT black judge to be nominated by Obama, but, if approved by the Senate, he would be the second out LGBT black judge. The first, Judge Deborah Batts, also was the first out LGBT federal judge. She was nominated by President Clinton and sat on the Southern District of New York bench. She took "senior status," a near-retirement, earlier this year.

It is unlikely, due to the time nominations take to proceed in the current Congress, that Thomas, currently a state-court judge in Florida, would see a vote on his nomination in this Congress.

Thomas joins Pamela Ki Mai Chen, an out lesbian nominated this summer to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, and Judge Michael McShane, an out judge nominated in September to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, in the line of judicial nominees waiting for Judiciary Committee action on their nomination and the subsequent Senate votes.

Obama has now nominated seven out lawyers for judgeships, three of whom already have been approved by the Senate. Judges J. Paul Oetken and Alison Nathan both now sit on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, which is in Manhattan. Judge Michael Fitzgerald sits on the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.