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US Senate Confirms First Out Gay Federal Judge in History



WASHINGTON — The US Senate late Monday overwhelmingly confirmed the first openly gay male federal judge in US history.

Senators voted 80-13 to confirm Paul Oetken to the Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy praised Oetken as "a superbly qualified nominee," and hailed President Barack Obama for the ground-breaking nomination.

The vote came a month after New York became the latest -- and largest -- US state to legalize same-sex marriage, after Iowa, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont.

A March poll found that 53 percent of Americans are in favor of allowing gay marriage.

Other US states, like California, offer same-sex civil unions, but not marriage rights. That means the parties have some but not all legal rights married couples have.

Earlier this month, a federal court ruled that the US military had to immediately stop enforcing a ban on gays serving openly in uniform, even as the government prepared to scrap the policy.

Agence France Presse / By

Posted at July 19, 2011, 3:06am

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