Senate Approves Texas' First Openly Gay Federal Judge

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Robert Pittman is the first openly gay federal judge in Texas. - VIA TOWLEROAD
  • via Towleroad
  • Robert Pittman is the first openly gay federal judge in Texas.

Last night, the U.S. Senate confirmed three Texas lifetime judicial appointments, and in doing so, confirmed the state's first openly gay federal judge.

U.S. Attorney Robert Pittman was confirmed alongside Robert Schroeder III, who is a lawyer in Texarkana, and Judge Amos Mazzant III, a magistrate in Sherman. Pittman fills a Western District of Texas judicial seat that has been vacant since 2008 in the U.S. District Court here in San Antonio.

All three judges were nominated by President Obama in June and were recommended by Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. Both Texas senators sit on the Judiciary Committee. It was unclear if any of the three would be confirmed before Republicans take over the Senate on January 6. The current Senate was to go home last Friday for the holidays, but a move by Cruz, who is upset over Obama's recent executive action on immigration, forced the legislative body to convene over the weekend, allowing Majority Leader Harry Reid to gather the votes to confirm a number of presidential appointments.

Pittman, a Fort Worth native, attended Abilene Christian University and earned his law degree from the University of Texas at Austin. Since 2011, he has been the top federal prosecutor for the federal court in San Antonio, which serves 13 counties in South Central Texas.

According to Towleroad, Pittman is now among roughly 10 openly gay federal judges in the United States. When Obama took office, there was only one. Lambda Legal praised Pittman's confirmation in a statement, but called for more judicial diversity across the United States. 

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