Skip to Content

Who was the first gay Supreme Court justice?

The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest judicial authority in the country. Over the years, many distinguished judges have served on the Supreme Court. However, the court’s history shows a lack of diversity in terms of sexual orientation. In this blog post, we will explore the question: Who was the first gay Supreme Court justice?


Until recently, being openly gay or lesbian was often not an option for many people, especially those in public office. It was not until the 1990s that attitudes began to shift, and some politicians started to come out publicly. However, it wasn’t until after that that the first openly gay judge was appointed to the Federal bench.

The first openly gay judge appointed to a Federal court was Deborah Batts, a nominee of President Bill Clinton, who was confirmed to the Southern District of New York bench in 1994. Batts was a trailblazer in the LGBTQ community and a strong advocate for LGBTQ rights.

Supreme Court Justice

While there have been many openly gay judges appointed to lower courts throughout the country, no openly gay judge has yet been appointed to the Supreme Court.

However, there is a significant amount of speculation about the sexual orientation of Justice James Buchanan Brady, a Supreme Court justice who served from 1930-1937. Historians have long speculated that Brady was a closeted gay man.

Although there is no hard evidence to support the claim that Justice Brady was gay, the stories about his sexuality have persisted over the years. Some historians point to his unmarried status and the fact that he never had any children as evidence of his homosexuality. According to reports, he also had close relationships with several men throughout his life, one of whom was a hairdresser who was often seen visiting him in his chambers.


In conclusion, while the United States has had many LGBT trailblazers who have made great strides in the fight for equality, no openly gay judge has yet been appointed to the Supreme Court. It is unclear when that might change, but the country has undoubtedly come a long way since the days when being openly gay or lesbian was often not an option.

As the push for increased diversity on the Supreme Court continues, it is essential to recognize and acknowledge the contributions of the brave men and women who have fought for the rights of the LGBTQ community. The appointment of the first openly gay justice to the Supreme Court will undoubtedly be a historic moment, one that will further pave the way for future generations.


Who was the first gay black judge?

Darrin P. Gayles made history in 2014 by becoming the first openly gay black man to be confirmed as a federal judge by the U.S. Senate. He was confirmed for the bench in South Florida, where he previously served as a Miami-Dade Circuit Court judge.

Gayles earned his bachelor’s degree from Howard University in 1988 and his law degree from George Washington University in 1994. After law school, he worked as a prosecutor in Miami-Dade County for over a decade before being appointed to the county court bench in 2011 and then the circuit court bench in 2012 by Governor Rick Scott.

Throughout his legal career, Gayles has been active in the LGBT community, serving on the board of directors of the gay and lesbian center in Miami, and as a member of the National Black Justice Coalition. He has also been a proponent of diversity on the bench, frequently speaking about the importance of having judges who reflect the communities they serve.

Gayles’ confirmation was celebrated by advocates for LGBT rights and diversity in the legal profession, who saw it as a significant step forward in the fight for equality. As of 2021, there are several openly gay judges serving on the federal bench, but Gayles’ confirmation remains a milestone. His appointment serves as a reminder of the progress that has been made, and the work that still needs to be done to ensure that the legal system is fair and just for all.

Has there ever been a gay Justice?

Yes, there have been several openly gay justices serving in state supreme courts across the United States. In fact, the first openly gay judge to be appointed in the United States was Stephen Lachs, who was appointed to the Los Angeles County Superior Court in California in 1979.

Since then, many more openly gay judges have been appointed across the country, serving in various state supreme courts. For example, the first state with an LGBT justice was Oregon, where Rives Kistler was named to the bench in 2003. Kistler served as a justice on the Oregon Supreme Court until his retirement in 2021.

In addition to Kistler, there have been many other openly gay justices serving on state supreme courts in the United States. As of January 9, 2023, there are 12 LGBT state supreme court justices, serving in 10 states. These justices include Justice Anita Earls of the North Carolina Supreme Court, Justice Beth Robinson of the Vermont Supreme Court, and Justice Sabrina McKenna of the Hawaii Supreme Court.

It’s worth noting that the appointment of openly gay judges and justices has not always been without controversy. Some nominations have faced opposition due to the nominee’s sexual orientation, while others have been accused of promoting a “gay agenda” once in office. However, despite these challenges, openly gay judges and justices have continued to serve on state supreme courts and help shape the law in their respective states.