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Lesbian Nominated for Top Mass. Court

Lesbian Nominated for Top Mass. Court


In a historic move, Gov. Deval Patrick has nominated Barbara A. Lenk to the Massachusetts supreme court, the first state high court to rule for marriage equality, in 2004.

According to The Boston Globe, Lenk, an appellate judge, would be the first openly gay member of the Massachusetts high court and one of only a handful of out state supreme court justices in the country.

"Both Patrick and Lenk acknowledged the groundbreaking nature of the appointment, but stressed her qualifications, including 17 years on the bench, a Harvard law degree, and a doctorate from Yale in political philosophy," reports the Globe about the Monday announcement.

Lenk, who would fill the vacancy to be created when Justice Judith A. Cowin steps down this month, said during the announcement that her sole allegiance is to "the rule of law and to fair and equal treatment of all who come before the court."

"Lenk also spoke about her impoverished upbringing in New York, the daughter of a bookbinder and a housekeeper whose first language was Polish. 'I never expected to be standing here, but the fact that I am shows that my story is the American story, where anything is possible,' she said," the Globe reported.

Lenk, 60, married her partner, attorney Debra Krupp, after the high court ruling that made Massachusetts the first state in the nation to recognize marriage equality. They have two teenage children.

The nomination requires confirmation from the governor's council.

Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, the legal rights group based in New England, issued a statement about the nomination that said in part, "Justice Lenk's confirmation to the SJC would mark a tremendous milestone for the LGBT community in Massachusetts. But it should not overshadow the fact that Justice Lenk is eminently qualified to serve on our state's highest court. She is a careful, meticulous and thoughtful judge who has heart, and someone who is well-respected by her peers in the legal community."

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