The Puerto Rico Senate confirmed Associate Justice Maite Oronoz Rodriguez as chief justice of the commonwealth’s highest court yesterday, Monday, Feb. 22, making her the first out lesbian chief justice in the United States.
According to the Associated Press, Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla announced the nomination Friday, Feb. 12. Her called her nomination a “new time” for Puerto Rico’s judicial branch.
The 39-year-old was first appointed to the high court in June 2014. She previously served as the commonwealth’s deputy solicitor general and chief legal counselor for the city of San Juan.
In accepting the nomination, Oronoz Rodriguez said it was time for her to “step down from the podium and receive with open arms a citizenry that demands human justice.”
“The confirmation of Maite Oronoz Rodríguez as the first openly LGBT Chief Justice in Puerto Rico and the United States makes history, breaks barriers, and marks a momentous step towards achieving a judiciary that reflects full and rich diversity of our country. A diverse judiciary serves not only to improve the quality of justice, it boosts public confidence in the courts,” said Lambda Legal staff attorney Omar Gonzalez-Pagan in a statement.