Judge Beth Robinson the First Lesbian to Serve on Any Federal Circuit Court!

Judge Beth Robinson

Judge Beth Robinson is the first lesbian to serve on any federal circuit court! The Judge was nominated by President Biden in August. Early November, the senate voted 51-45, including four abstaining and two (female!) Republicans Susan Collins of Maine and Sens. Lisa Murkowski, in favor to instate Judge Robinson to the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The White House referred to Judge Beth Robinson as the “first LGBT woman” to take the position. The trend of not mentioning specific sexual orientation, opting instead for umbrella terms, is more about reaffirming the status of other, than it is fighting for “inclusivity.” It’s a bit unsettling, because it seems the only time “lesbian” is used without a stutter or second thought, is when referring to the pornography category.

While some people avoid using the power they have to support their own community out of fear they’ll be pigeonholed or be seen as biased, Judge Beth Robinson has been out here unapologetically advocating for lesbians. “[Judge Beth Robinson] has been an associate justice on the Vermont Supreme Court since 2011,” wrote Rachel Treisman, for NPR, “and is well-known in the state for her earlier work as a lawyer in the landmark case that effectively legalized same-sex marriage in the state.”

“She worked pro bono as a co-counsel to the plaintiffs in Baker v. State, which successfully challenged Vermont’s prohibition on same-sex marriage to make it the first state to enact civil unions in the country.”

“As an advocate, Beth Robinson has been rightfully hailed as a tireless champion for equal rights and equal justice,” Sen. Patrick Leahy said, in a press release. “But more importantly, her record as a Vermont Supreme Court Justice clearly demonstrates her fairness, impartiality, and loyalty to the rule of law, above all else.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders expressed his support: “I want to congratulate Vermont Supreme Court Justice Beth Robinson for her momentous confirmation today to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Thank you for your continued service. I know you will make Vermont proud and will be an excellent addition to the federal bench.”

Human Rights Campaign: “Congratulations Beth Robinson on your confirmation as Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit! Beth Robinson has now become the first openly lesbian person to serve on a federal appeals court.”

AJ Kelly

Contact AJ at [email protected] or view the rest of her work on

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