In an unprecedented move in Massachusetts, Governor Deval Patrick nominated lesbian candidate Barbara A. Lenk for an opening in the state’s highest court on Monday.
"My story is the American story – where anything is possible," Lenk said, according to Reuters.
The 60-year-old native of Queens, N.Y., joined her partner at the altar in 2004 after Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to approve same-sex marriage. Lenk holds a Ph.D. in political philosophy from Yale University as well as a Harvard law degree. She and her partner currently have two daughters.
Her career in law began at a Boston firm, now called Brown Rudnick Berlack Israels, where Lenk specialized in First Amendment issues. In 1993, Lenk was appointed the Superior Court. Two years later, she took over a position at the Court of Appeals in a decision approved by then Massachusetts Governor William Weld.
In order for Lenk to take the seat at the state’s Supreme Court, she must be approved by eight state lawmakers of the bipartisan Governor’s Council.
Should Lenk be chosen, she will be the first openly gay Supreme Court justice in the state, and the next in a line of homosexuals holding similar positions in other states.
Two months earlier, Hawaii swore in its first openly gay justice, Sabrina Shizue McKenna, originally from Japan.
Colorado approved Supreme Court justice and lesbian Monica Marquez last year. Marquez is also the first woman and Hispanic to hold the office in the state. Like Lenk, she is also a Yale alumnus.
The high court in Oregon currently has two openly gay justices, Rives Kistler since 2003 and Virginia Linder since 2007.