LGBT rights groups on Wednesday reacted positively to President Barack Obama's choice of Judge Merrick Garland to fill the late Antonin Scalia's seat on the Supreme Court.

Obama announced Garland, currently the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, as his nominee during a Rose Garden ceremony.

“I've selected a nominee who is widely recognized not only as one of America's sharpest legal minds, but someone who brings to his work a spirit of decency, modesty, integrity, even-handedness and excellence,” he said.

Republican leaders stood firm on their decision not to meet with the nominee. On the Senate floor, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell completely ruled out Garland.

“The American people may well elect a president who decides to nominate Judge Garland for Senate consideration,” McConnell said. “The next president may also nominate someone very different. Either way, our view is this: Give the people a voice in the filling of this vacancy.”

LGBT rights groups applauded Obama's move and called on the Senate to consider Garland.

“Americans deserve a full Supreme Court bench, and President Obama’s nominee deserves a hearing. There is no doubt that Merrick Garland is a highly qualified candidate, and the Senate has a Constitutional responsibility to give him swift and fair consideration,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT rights advocate. “The Supreme Court has a sacred responsibility to uphold the rights of all citizens, and we must hold accountable any politicians who tamper with our nation’s highest court for their own gain.”

“The decisions made by the Supreme Court establish important legal precedents that impact the daily lives of all Americans, including those who are LGBT,” he added.

LGBT legal group Lambda Legal called on the Senate Judiciary Committee to “ask comprehensive and probing questions to evaluate Judge Garland's ability to be a fair and impartial member of our highest court rather than rejecting his nomination out-of-hand in partisan fashion, without even a hearing.”

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) called Garland “superbly qualified” in calling on the Senate “to do its job and move swiftly to confirm his nomination.”