Connecticut set to have first openly gay state supreme court chief justice

Connecticut set to have first openly gay state supreme court chief justice

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) has nominated state Supreme Court Justice Andrew McDonald to become chief justice, which would make McDonald the first openly gay state chief justice in the country.

Malloy has appointed five of the seven justices on the court. He said that he is nominating McDonald, a longtime friend, because of his intellect, temperament and respect for the rule of law, the CT Mirror reported.

“It also can’t go without noting the national significance of this nomination,” Malloy added.

There are a dozen LGBT justices in supreme courts nationwide but only one chief justice, Maite Orono Rodríguez, who heads the highest court in Puerto Rico.

McDonald, 51, was Connecticut’s first openly gay Supreme Court justice when he joined the court in 2013, according to the Mirror.

He was elected to the state Senate in 2002, where he helped pass a civil unions law for same-sex couples that was later reversed by the state Supreme Court. After eight years in the Senate, he became Malloy’s top legal adviser.

McDonald said that his sexuality prompted even family members to discourage him from becoming a public servant.

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“When I came out in the early 1990s, I had family members who loved me deeply but so counseled me against pursuing either a career in law or in public service because of the deeply ingrained prejudices held by some people at that time,” he said.

McDonald married his longtime partner, Charles Gray, in 2009.

Connecticut Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney (D) and Majority Leader Bob Duff (D) praised the nomination in a statement.

“Justice Andrew McDonald is a brilliant and thoughtful jurist,” Looney said. “I am certain that Justice McDonald will lead the State Supreme Court will honor, dignity and incisive legal analysis.”

Some GOP lawmakers, including the leaders of the Connecticut House and Senate GOP minorities, supported McDonald’s 2013 nomination to the court, according to the Mirror. But GOP gubernatorial candidate Tim Herbst indicated to the Mirror that he is opposed to McDonald because of his “partisan streak” and close personal ties to Malloy.

The head of the Connecticut Bar Association endorsed McDonald, saying that he has “dedicated his career to public service, championing social justice, and safeguarding fairness and equality.”