January 19, 2012 | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Gay man sworn in as D.C. Marshal
Michael Hughes, gay news, gay politics dc

Michael Hughes was sworn in on Jan. 13 as U.S. Marshal for the D.C. Superior Court. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

With more than two dozen family members and friends looking on, veteran U.S. Marshal Service official Michael Hughes was sworn in on Jan. 13 as U.S. Marshal for the D.C. Superior Court, becoming the second out gay person to hold such a position.

D.C. Court of Appeals Chief Judge Eric Washington administered the oath of office for Hughes, 44, in a courtroom ceremony crowded with well-wishers, including D.C. congressional Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D).

Norton recommended Hughes for the appointment to President Barack Obama, who placed Hughes’ name in nomination for the post before the U.S. Senate last September. The Senate confirmed the appointment on Nov. 18.

“I am just so honored and privileged to be serving in this role,” Hughes told the Blade after the ceremony. “This is a fantastic opportunity for me and I’m just ecstatic at this moment for the opportunity that’s been afforded to me by the president and Congresswoman Norton and the whole community.”

Hughes’ appointment came nearly two years after Obama appointed and the Senate confirmed Minneapolis Assistant Police Chief Sharon Lubinski as the nation’s first openly gay U.S. Marshal. Lubinski also became Minnesota’s first female U.S. marshal.

Norton noted that Obama has granted her appointment recommendation privileges that presidents traditionally give to the senior U.S. senator of every state who is a member of the same political party as the president. Although presidents make the final decision on whom to appoint to key federal positions, they traditionally have given great weight to the recommendations of senators and, in this case, to Norton.

Hughes, a career U.S. Marshal Service official, will be in charge of overseeing the security at the D.C. Superior Court and D.C. Court of Appeals along with the safety and protection of judges. He’s also in charge of the transportation and housing of fugitives and the protection of witnesses.

He told the Blade he has been active in a program that provides support for LGBT partners and family members of local law enforcement officers, including D.C. police, who lose their lives in the line of duty.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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