The U.S. Senate on Wednesday confirmed the nomination of Chai Feldblum as a commissioner to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Federal Times reported.

Feldblum was among the 15 administration nominees appointed in March by President Barack Obama in his first recess appointments since taking office. But a Senate vote was still needed to make her appointment permanent through 2013.

A key Senate committee voted in favor of Feldblum's nomination in December 2009, four months after being nominated by Obama, but Republicans had since blocked a full Senate vote on her confirmation.

Feldblum, a former professor at Georgetown University's Law Center, is considered a national scholar on transgender rights, disability issues and the gay rights movement.

Social conservatives had decried her recess appointment, labeling Feldblum a “radical” for, most notably, her work on the proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill which would ban employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Feldblum would “ruthlessly enforce” ENDA, the socially conservative Traditional Values Coalition said in objecting to her nomination. Gay rights bills, such as ENDA, are not expected to win passage in the next Congress.

Feldblum is the first openly gay EEOC commissioner.