The U.S. Senate on Monday confirmed
Beth Robinson to serve on the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals,
making her the first out lesbian to serve on any federal district
The Senate voted 51-45 in favor of
Two Republicans – Senators Lisa
Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine – joined all but one
Democrat in confirming Robinson to the federal bench. New York
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat, and Republican Senators Mike
Rounds of South Dakota, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Thom Tillis of
North Carolina abstained from voting.
President Joe Biden nominated Robinson,
56, in August.
Since 2011, Robinson has been an
associate justice on the Vermont Supreme Court. She is also known for
her work as a lawyer in the landmark case that effectively legalized
marriage equality in Vermont.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders
congratulated Robinson on her confirmation.
“I want to congratulate Vermont
Supreme Court Justice Beth Robinson for her momentous confirmation
today to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals,” Sanders tweeted.
“Thank you for your continued service. I know you will make Vermont
proud and will be an excellent addition to the federal bench.”
LGBT legal group GLAD said in a
statement that Robinson will make “a remarkable asset to our
“Justice Robinson’s deep
commitments to the rule of law and to equal justice under law – bar
none – will make her a remarkable asset to our federal judiciary
and our society,” said GLAD's Mary L. Bonauto. “As both a
litigator and a Vermont Supreme Court Justice, she knows that law is
entwined with people’s lives and has the integrity and humility to
see both. Her confirmation as the first openly lesbian judge to serve
on a U.S. Court of Appeals is another pivotal moment for a
remarkable person and for our country, one that hopefully signals a
welcome expansion of wider representation on our nation’s high
Bonauto, Robinson, and Susan Murray
represented three same-sex couples in the landmark 1999 case Baker
v. Vermont, in which the Vermont Supreme Court held that the
state must guarantee the same protections and benefits to gay and
lesbian couples as it does to married heterosexual couples.