presidential candidate Sam Brownback grilled a judge who
attended a same-sex union ceremony in 2002 but said he would
no longer block her nomination.
Kansas senator who opposes same-sex marriage, last year held
up the nomination of Janet T. Neff to be a federal district
court judge in Michigan.
Judiciary Committee had cleared Neff for the post, but
Brownback had questions about her role in the same-sex
ceremony, which surfaced because of a wedding
announcement in The New York Times.
The senator said
in December he would stop blocking her nomination if he
could question her and get a roll-call vote on the
nomination by the full Senate.
questioned her during a hearing Thursday. Neff said the
ceremony, held in September 2002 in Massachusetts, was for
the daughter of close family friends and her partner.
Neff said she gave a homily but did not preside over
ceremony itself, you would classify as what you would call a
commitment ceremony?'' Brownback asked.
''That is, I
think, what it was called at the time,'' Neff said.
''And was it a
marriage ceremony?'' Brownback asked.
''It was not,''
Michigan has a
state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage that
prohibits recognition of civil unions or same-sex
Asked whether she
believes there is a constitutional right for same-sex
couples to marry, Neff said she could not answer, because
the matter is pending in state and federal courts.
(Libby Quaid, AP)