The U.S. Senate On Tuesday, by a vote of 97-0, has confirmed an openly gay man to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Judge Darrin Gayles, presently a Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge, becomes the first openly gay African American man in U.S. history to be confirmed as a federal judge. It is a lifetime appointment to a court whose jurisdiction extends from Key West to Fort Pierce.
Gayles is one of three June 17 appointments. The Senate also confirmed Staci Yandle to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. Yandle is the first African American to serve on her court and the first openly gay lifetime-appointed federal judge in Illinois. It was the first time in history the Senate confirmed two openly gay judges on the same day.
Advocacy groups, including Nadine Smith, the executive director of Equality Florida, praised the confirmation. A previous gay African American choice, Judge William L. Thomas of Miami, had been blocked by U.S Senator Marco Rubio.
The U.S. Senate also confirmed judge Salvador Mendoza, the first Hispanic judge to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington.