Two lesbian judges made history this month. They’re also both badass moms.

Author: Molly Sprayregen

Last month, both Melissa DuBose and Nicole Berner made LGBTQ+ history when the Senate confirmed their judicial appointments.

Both women have been praised for their myriad professional accomplishments, but less talked about is the fact that they are both working moms.

Berner, a dual citizen of America and Israel, won a historic case in 2000 in which Israel agreed to legally recognize her as a mom to her son after she underwent a co-parent adoption in California, according to lesbian parenting site Mombian. Nine years later, she and her then-partner won another battle to have Israel recognize that partner as a legal parent to the couple’s two younger children.

Berner is now also a stepmom to the son of her wife, attorney Debra Katz. At her confirmation hearing, Berner reportedly stated that her role as a mom “has been without a doubt the most important, rewarding, meaningful, and challenging aspect of my life. I have always worked hard to model for my children the values that were instilled in me by my own parents and by my faith: values of hard work, commitment to education and community, to social service, and to the Jewish value of tikkun olam, repairing the world.”

DuBose is married with two sons. After her confirmation, she called them “remarkable” and thanked them “for gracing me with that special love that is reserved for mothers and sons,” as reported by the Washington Blade.

She did, however, endure a contentious confirmation hearing, during which Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) accused her of being a secret Marxist. She repeatedly denied she had ever been a Marxist as Kennedy reportedly pushed and interrupted.  

Dubose taught history and civics in Providence, Rhode Island, public schools for ten years before earning her law degree. Then, she became a prosecutor with the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office before working in the private sector in contracts law. She was appointed to the Rhode Island District Court in 2019.

Berner has worked for Planned Parenthood and was general counsel for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). At SEIU, she led the union’s support for the Affordable Care Act, same-sex marriage, LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination law, and worker safety. At Planned Parenthood, she defended reproductive freedom. She has championed the poor and marginalized throughout her career.

The confirmations of Berner and DuBose also led President Joe Biden to tie former President Barack Obama’s record for LGBTQ+ judicial confirmations — though Obama did it in two terms and Biden has done it in one. Including Berner and DuBose, eleven LGBTQ+ federal judges have been appointed and confirmed since Biden took office.

Biden has made several historic LGBTQ+ appointments to the bench. In 2021, Beth Robinson became the first out LGBTQ+ woman in the country to serve on a U.S. appeals court, and in 2022, Judge Alison Nathan became the second.

Biden has become known overall for appointing a diverse array of judges across the country. In addition to racial and ethnic diversity, many of Biden’s appointees also come from progressive backgrounds as civil rights lawyers and public defenders. He also nominated Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson – the first Black woman to serve on the nation’s highest court.

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Actual Story on LGBTQ Nation
Author: Molly Sprayregen

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