Three of the seven openly gay or lesbian justices on the nation's state supreme courts, and the first lesbian jurist on the Bay Area's federal bench, got together in San Francisco last week and agreed that being a gay judge isn't much of an issue these days. At least not where they live.
In 2010, U.S. District Court judges in San Francisco appointed Donna Ryu, a civil rights attorney and UC Hastings law professor, as a federal magistrate. No openly gay or lesbian judicial officer had ever served on the court.
California's voters had banned same-sex marriage less than two years earlier, but this was San Francisco, the climate was changing, and Ryu was determined to be as open as possible.
"I wanted people to know that I was lesbian," she said. In the January 2010 news release announcing her appointment, she said, she proposed including her membership on the board of the National Center for Lesbian Rights - only to be told by a clerk that the court's chief judge, Vaughn Walker, was "wondering whether you really want to have that in there."
Being a Gay Justice is No Longer an Issue
By Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle
Published July 25, 2013