Two Judges Appointed By US Senate Make LGBTQ+ History

Two Judges Appointed By US Senate Make LGBTQ+ History

Judges Melissa DuBose and Nicole Berner made history last month after the Senate confirmed their judicial appointments. LGBTQ Nation reports, DuBose makes history as the first woman of color and the first out LGBTQ+ person on the Rhode Island District Courts, while Berner was appointed to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, making her the first gay person to serve in the role. 

DuBose and Berner are not only openly LGBTQ+, but both are also working moms. DuBose, who is married with two sons, told the Washington Blade, she is grateful to her children “for gracing me with that special love that is reserved for mothers and sons.”

Berner was appointed on March 19 and is also mother to three boys. She spoke on her relationship with her family at her confirmation hearing saying: “I have always worked hard to model for my children the values that were instilled in me by my own parents and by my faith: values of hard work, commitment to education and community, to social service, and to the Jewish value of tikkun olam, repairing the world.” 

Also an Israeli citizen, Berner sued the government there and won the right for same-sex couples to be officially recognized as their children’s parents. Not only are these two mothers, but they have served their communities in many ways throughout their evolving careers. 

According to LGBTQ Nation, Berner worked for Planned Parenthood defending reproductive rights. She also served as general counsel for the Services Employees International Union (SEIU) where she pushed for the Affordable Care Act, same-sex marriage, LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination laws, and worker safety. Throughout her career, Berner has made it a priority to advocate for marginalized groups. 

Before DuBose was appointed to the Rhode Island District Court in 2019 on March 12, and before she obtained a law degree, she taught history and civics in Providence public schools for a decade. 

Berner and DuBose’s appointments have led to a tie between President Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama for LGBTQ+ judicial confirmations. With Berner and DuBose, Biden has welcomed eleven LGBTQ+ federal judges during his first term.

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