US: California nominates lesbian Prop 8 attorney as appeals court judge

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The Governor of California has nominated an attorney who fought against the state’s same-sex marriage ban to become an appeals court judge.

Democratic Governor Jerry Brown today nominated San Francisco attorney Therese M Stewart to fill a vacancy in the First District Court of Appeal.

Stewart, who previously served as chief deputy city attorney at the San Francisco City Attorney’s office, led the charge for marriage equality in the state on behalf of the city.

She was responsible for one of the suits challenging Proposition 8 and the ban on same-sex marriage at the California Supreme Court.

If confirmed, Stewart, 57, will be the first openly lesbian appellate judge in the state.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said: “Terry Stewart was my very first hire after I was elected City Attorney, and it has been an extraordinary honor to have someone with her intelligence, dedication and passionate commitment to justice serve as my chief deputy for more than a dozen years.

“I am incredibly proud of Terry for all she has accomplished in her career, for her appointment to the California Court of Appeal today, and for shattering one more historic barrier as California’s first lesbian-identified appellate court justice.

“On a weekend in which San Francisco celebrates LGBT equality, Terry Stewart’s historic appointment is still more cause to celebrate—not just for the LGBT community, but for all Californians who’ll be so ably served by her remarkable gifts on the judiciary.”

Her appointment fills the vacancy created last year, when Justice James Lambden retired.

Associate Justice James M. Humes, 54, became the first openly gay appellate court justice in 2012, when he was also nominated by Brown.

The California State Senate voted in May to change the wording of marriage laws, to use gender neutral language.

The US Supreme Court struck down Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriages, last summer.