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It's about time - Michael Fitzgerald Confirmed

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Michael Fitzgerald was nominated to the US Federal Courts last year by President Obama. The seat he is filling is in the conservative Central Valley of California (where I was born and spent many years over the last four decades). He is openly gay, walked door to door in the 2008 fight against Prop 8, served on numerous LGBT boards and was even a Stonewall member in the 1990's (a gay Democratic organization I also belong to now).

His nomination was held up in the US Senate for FOUR months, not because he was unqualified but as part of a partisan campaign to keep Obama nominees from getting appointed. An overwhelming majority of senators from both parties ended up voting for him when Senator Harry Reid (I've worked on campaigns for his wife and his son, but not him) forced nominations that had long been on hold to the floor. The final vote for Judge Fitzgerald was 91-6.

Having an openly gay judge in a district like this one is good - it's just too bad it couldn't have happened three months ago (a wait of about a month can be expected for confirmations in a partisan atmosphere - but FOUR?). Judge Fitzgerald is also the third openly gay person to be appointed and confirmed to the federal bench by the President. A fourth was nominated, passed through the Judiciary committee and then withdrew his nomination after waiting 18 months for a floor confirmation vote.

For Judge Fitzgerald, he was a principle in the 1993 Buttino case. Us older folk might remember that until 1993 the federal government viewed being gay as a bar to gaining a security clearance. Yes, that's right, the US Government until 1993 said that being gay was grounds for denying you a security clearance. The Buttino case changed that within the FBI. Later executive orders and law changes spread that change throughout the federal government.

This is a piece of good news in a world increasingly gone mad...

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