The U.S. Senate on Monday voted 80 to 13 to confirm J. Paul Oetken, an openly gay senior vice president and associate general counsel at Cablevision, as a federal judge in Manhattan. Oetken is the first openly gay man to be confirmed as a federal judge. Out lesbian Deborah A. Batts has been a federal judge in Manhattan since 1994. Following the confirmation, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said it was his “distinct honor to rise in support of Paul Oetken’s confirmation.” Schumer went on and said, “When Paul becomes Judge Oetken, he will be living proof to all those young lawyers that it really does get better.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday is scheduled to hold a hearing on the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill aiming to repeal the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act.” Andy Towle posted a blog with a list of witnesses set to testify during Wednesday’s hearing. Chris Geidner of MetroWeekly posted a Twitter message this afternoon claiming that White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said President Obama endorsed the Respect for Marriage Act.
The New York Times this week profiled three same-sex couples who plan on getting married after New York’s marriage law takes effect on July 24. The Times also examined parts of New York in which same-sex Episcopalian couples will be allowed to be married by priests when the state's marriage equality law comes into effect. Meanwhile, officials in New York City said that there has been such a high demand from couples wishing to be married on July 24 that a lottery will be held to guarantee 764 couples — either opposite- or same-sex — access to marry at one of the City Clerk’s five offices on Sunday. CNN’s Randi Kaye spoke to John Feinblatt and Jonathan Mintz, two of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s aides whose wedding Bloomberg will officiate.
In other marriage news, political commentator Margaret Hoover, the GOProud board member whose book “American Individualism” was released this week, appeared on The O’Reilly Factor and was asked about her support for marriage equality. O’Reilly claimed, “The traditional core of the Republican party opposes you on almost every social issue.” Hoover retorted, “People like you who try to divide our party on social issues -- that is not the way forward for the Republican party."
The mainstream media also continued to cover Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.). GOProud Executive Director Jimmy LaSalvia said Monday that the group had requested a meeting with Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) to "discuss issues important to gay conservatives."