Senate confirms openly lesbian judge

WASHINGTON – It took more than a year, but the Senate voted 66-32 late Tuesday to confirm the judicial nomination of Marisa Demeo, an openly lesbian judge.

The vote largely followed along partisan lines.

Republicans led by Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina had blocked confirmation since March 2009, when President Barack Obama nominated Demeo to the D.C. Superior Court.

DeMint held up the nomination largely because of the judge’s sexual orientation.

He told the National Law Journal in February that “A number of Republicans had concerns and asked me, as chairman of Steering, to ask for limited debate and a recorded vote because of a history of very leftist activism. There are just a number of things that don't look like a fair-and-balanced approach that you'd like in a judge.”

Demeo has been a magistrate judge in the District of Columbia since 2007. She has been a lobbyist and is an advocate for Latino causes.

She is a member of the Human Rights Campaign and Lambda Legal, which are devoted to GLBT causes.

Demeo has been demonized by the socially conservative group Traditional Values Coalition (TVC), which urged senators to reject the nomination because Demeo is openly gay.

On Tuesday, the progressive website ThinkProgress.org published a letter from the TVC to the senators:

“As an open, radical lesbian, Demeo has openly condemned the effort to amend our Constitution to protect marriage as a one-man, one-woman union,” the TVC wrote. “Demeo supports gay marriage, claiming it is a constitutional right. She also claims that LGBT individuals are equal to racial minorities and can claim protection as minorities under our civil rights laws.”

The letter writers called Demeo “dangerous to our nation,” and said she would, “destroy traditional marriage through her edicts.”

Demeo was judged "more than qualified" by numerous progressive and liberal organizations.

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