Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Governor Romney's Gay Judicial Appointments

Governor Romney has created some more problems for his Presidential campaign. His opportunity to pick decent conservative judges has gone largely unfulfilled. Only one quarter of his appointments have been Republicans (as if that meant anything in this state!).

Romney has, however, appointed two pro-gay "marriage" judges, one of whom is openly homosexual and was on the board of the Massachusetts Lesbian and Gay Bar Association! From the Boston Globe (7-25-05):

Romney said Friday that he has not paid a moment's notice to his nominees' political leanings or sexual orientation -- or to the impact his choices might have on a future presidential run. He said he has focused on two factors: their legal experience and whether the nominees would be tough on crime. He said most of the nominees have prosecutorial experience.

''People on both sides of the aisle want to put the bad guys away," Romney said....

Observers in the Bay State legal community, meanwhile, said they see a contradiction between Romney's judicial choices and his conservative rhetoric, including his stated opposition to same-sex marriage....

Romney, despite his opposition to same-sex marriage, in May selected for a district court judgeship Stephen S. Abany, a former board member of the Massachusetts Lesbian and Gay Bar Association who organized the group's opposition to a 1999 bill to outlaw same-sex marriage. Just two days before the nomination, Romney was lamenting the liberal tilt of the state's bench, telling Fox News that ''our courts have a record here in Massachusetts, don't they, of being a little blue and being Kerry-like."

Another Romney choice for the bench is Marianne C. Hinkle, a registered Democrat who worked as an aide to Governor Michael S. Dukakis in the late 1970s and prosecuted John C. Salvi III in the 1994 Brookline abortion clinic shootings. Hinkle, in her application for the bench, describes herself as a longtime active member of Dignity/USA, a group that advocates for expanded gay rights in the Catholic Church and society generally....

Romney has faced criticism from Governor's Councilors and some bar associations for failing to nominate more women, minorities, and defense attorneys to the bench. Seeking to counter such attacks, Romney's appointee to the chairmanship of the Judicial Nominating Commission, Boston lawyer Christopher D. Moore, has reached out to minority and women's bar associations to encourage members to apply. He's done the same with the state lesbian and gay bar association, which also has a seat on Romney's joint bar committee.