Wednesday was a huge day for equality in Hawaii. The state Senate voted 18-5 for its final approval of SB 232, the civil unions bill yesterday. And only moments before that vote, it unanimously confirmed openly lesbian Judge Sabrina McKenna to the Hawaii Supreme Court.
McKenna will become the court's first openly gay justice, reports KITV.
The 53-year-old McKenna was a senior judge on Oahu's Family Court, and she's been a state judge in district and circuit court for 17 years. Previously, she was a private lawyer and law professor at the University of Hawaii. McKenna fills the vacancy created in September when Justice Mark Recktenwald was elevated to chief justice in September. When she takes office, it will be the first time in Hawaii's history that two women have sat on the five-member court at the same time.
More from HRC Backstory:
Gov. Neil Abercrombie called the appointment the most important decision in his career, and said the "appointment sets the course for the state and its legal direction for the next several years. I’m completely confident that Judge McKenna’s appointment will be something I’m proud of for the rest of my life." Judiciary Chair Clayton Hee, gave impassioned remarks on the floor of the Senate and his colleagues confirmed McKenna unanimously, including the sole Republican in the chamber, Sam Slom, who also spoke well of the nominee.
McKenna, born and raised in Japan, was appointed to a 10-year term on the Hawaii Supreme Court by a vote of 23-0. She becomes only the second out lesbian state supreme court justice in the nation. Colorado Deputy Attorney General Monica Marquez became the first Latino and the first openly gay jurist on that state's high court in December.
You May Have Missed ...
1st Openly Gay Justice on CO Sup Court