Impact of sexual orientation in politics

Andrew McDonald speaks to the Stamford Coalition in 2014 // Photo courtesy of Hearst Connecticut Media File

Andrew J. Mcdonald was nominated to become the next Chief of Justice in the Connecticut Supreme Court. Mcdonald was denied by the CT Senate. Whether or not Justice McDonald was turned down because of his sexual orientation has become a question.

“I don’t think it is fair to not be able to serve in the government because of your sexual orientation. That is not right.” said Brian Vasquez.

Andrew J. McDonald, served as an openly gay legislator and the first openly gay member of the state Supreme Court. McDonald was born and raised in Connecticut. He went to school in Stamford and went to Cornell University, University of Connecticut, and Western New England University School of Law.

According to the Judicial Branch of Connecticut, “In January of 2013, Governor Dannel P. Malloy nominated Justice McDonald to be an associate justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court, and he was confirmed by the Connecticut General Assembly later that month. He was sworn into office on January 24, 2013 by Governor Malloy. In addition, Governor Malloy appointed Justice McDonald as the Chairman of the Connecticut Criminal Justice Commission in June 2016.”

McDonald was nominated by former Stamford mayor, Dannel P. Malloy to become the next Chief of Justice in the state’s high court; McDonald would have been replacing the retiring the chief justice, Chase T. Rodgers. Justice McDonald was elected in the state senate and served openly gay from 2003-2011. McDonald’s sexual orientation may be the reason he was denied the job. Courant.com, “Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a close friend and political ally of McDonald’s for the past 25 years, charged that part of the reason that Republicans are opposed to McDonald is that he is gay.” As much as republican senators deny this allegation it does not change the fact that Justice McDonald’s sexuality is controversial.

Supporters of McDonald are upset about the way he is being treated. Some have taken matters into their own hands. Supporters made advertisements and robocalls to urge residents to call lawmakers to confirm nominations also explaining how some people oppose the nominations because of his sexual orientation.

In late March, the Connecticut Senate rejected the nomination of Justice McDonald by just three votes. He lost 19-16. All 18 Republicans voted against the Cornell grad, while moderate Democrat Joan Hartley also voted against the nomination. The Senate and House will soon vote on Richard Robinson for the Chief Justice position. If approved, Robinson would become the first African-American chief justice in the state’s history

The Westword will continue to report on this as the situation continues to play out.

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