After two and a half years of relentless attacks on LGBTQ rights, advocates celebrated a rare victory in the Trump era: the confirmation of an out judge who embraces equality.
Mary Rowland of Illinois was confirmed by the Senate last week to serve on the U.S. District Court of Northern Illinois, reports the Washington Blade. Though Trump nominated her over a year ago, her confirmation was tied up in red tape for months, but it ultimately sailed through the Senate.
Rowland has placed her lesbian identity front and center, working for LGBTQ cases pro bono for Lambda Legal and serving as a member of the Lesbian & Gay Bar Association of Chicago. Rowland, 57, is a married mother of two.
“Sadly, this administration has no commitment to diversifying his appointments or the federal bench, but we are proud of Judge Rowland and know she brings an important perspective to a judiciary that often lacks that perspective,” Elliot Imse of the Victory Fund, which works to elect LGBTQ people to political office, told the Blade.
Rowland's confirmation was shepherded by Illinois's Democratic senators, Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, who hailed the bipartisan confirmation.
Trump's successful nomination of Rowland stands in stark contrast to his other judicial nominees, who are conservative and often anti-LGBTQ, including Kyle Duncan and Matthew Kacsmaryk. The former fought to deny trans high school student Gavin Grimm access to the restroom of his choosing and the latter supported Kim Davis, a Kentucky clerk who denied marriage licenses to same-sex couples.