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First Openly Gay Justice Lenk Confirmed To State’s Highest Court

By Bob Salsberg, Associated Press
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Governor Patrick announces Appeals Court Justice Barbara Lenk as his nominee to serve as an Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.  (Photo credit: Matt Bennett/Governor's Office)

Governor Patrick announces Appeals Court Justice Barbara Lenk as his nominee to serve as an Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. (Photo credit: Matt Bennett/Governor’s Office)

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BOSTON (AP) — A state appeals court judge who will be the first openly gay justice on Massachusetts’ highest court has been confirmed.

The Governor’s Council voted 5-3 on Wednesday to approve Barbara Lenk for the Supreme Judicial Court.

Councilors Charles Cipollini, Mary-Ellen Manning and Jennie Cassie voted against confirmation.

Lenk was a Superior Court judge before joining the appeals court in 1995.

She now joins the court that issued a landmark 2003 ruling making Massachusetts the first state to allow same-sex marriage.

Lenk married her long-time partner after that vote.

Gov. Deval Patrick thanked the council for concluding that Lenk’s intellect and experience will make her an outstanding justice.

Arlene Isaacson of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus said councilors rose above some of the prejudice and anti-gay sentiments they heard during the confirmation process.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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