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Sylvia Pressler Judge Who Championed Gay Adoption Dies


Sylvia B. Pressler, the New Jersey judge who in 1995 extended the legal rights of gay couples in a ruling that allowed a woman to adopt her partner's 3-year-old twins, died Monday at her family home in Sparta, N.J. She was 75.

Pressler was known as an especially prolific judge, authoring hundreds of opinions in her 31 years on the bench. The same-sex adoption case is among her best known, as was her ruling in 1973 as a hearings officer with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights that opened the door for girls to play Little League baseball.

Of her adoption ruling, Pressler wrote, "They function together as a family. The twins are, by reason of upbringing, daily lives and ties of mutual affection, the children of both Mary and Hannah, and no court order granting or denying the adoption will change that."

Pressler's husband David confirmed news of her death to The New York Times Tuesday. Though he did not give a cause of death, Pressler had been suffering from lymphoma.

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