February 23, 2016 at 10:45 am EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Lesbian confirmed as next Puerto Rico chief justice

Puerto Rico, gay news, Washington Blade

The Puerto Rico Senate on Feb. 22, 2016, confirmed the nomination of a lesbian woman to become the next chief justice of the U.S. commonwealth’s highest court. (Image by Raimond Spekking)

The Puerto Rico Senate on Monday confirmed a lesbian woman to become the next chief justice of the U.S. commonwealth’s highest court.

Senators approved Maite Oronoz Rodríguez’s nomination by a 14-12 vote margin.

Rodríguez has been a member of the Puerto Rico Supreme Court since 2014. She will become the first openly LGBT chief justice in the U.S.

“The confirmation of Maite Oronoz Rodríguez as the first openly LGBT chief justice in Puerto Rico and the United States makes history, breaks barriers, and marks a momentous step towards achieving a judiciary that reflects full and rich diversity of our country,” Omar Gonzalez-Pagan of Lambda Legal told the Washington Blade in a statement. “A diverse judiciary serves not only to improve the quality of justice, it boosts public confidence in the courts.”

Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro García Padilla nominated Oronoz earlier this month.

“The Judicial Branch is in the hands of a first rate jurist, who is part of our country’s new generation of leaders,” said García on Monday, according to the Puerto Rican newspaper El Nuevo Día.

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

  • RandyRandy

    Michael, while this is tremendous news, it’s not quite accurate. Please read up on Ben Cruz of Guam. He became chief justice of the Guam Supreme Court in 1999, and served in that position for a little more than 12 years. I believe that trumps Rodriguez’s honor of being first.

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