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Lesbian Judges and Elephants in the Room

July 18, 2011

An event of note for the LGBT community took place yesterday in Florida.  An event of note for those of us who advocate for equality and for freedom of sexual speech and expression took place at the same time.

Friday was the investiture of Judge Victoria Brennan, an openly gay judge in a state that, prior to l978, had a policy in place that no gay person could be admitted to the Florida Bar as the Bar deemed homosexuality a moral shortcoming.

Judge Brennan was first appointed to the County Court Bench by Governor Jeb Bush and now has been elevated to the Circuit Court Judge of the 11th Judicial Circuit by Governor Rick Scott.  “Robing” Judge Brennan at her investiture was her life-partner, Monica M. Cepero, and their two children.

Worthy of note for those of us who advocate for equality and freedom of sexual speech and expression is the lack of any mention in the media of Judge Brennan’s sexual orientation or of her family.

We COULD look at the lack of mention and celebrate that we have reached a point in our society where it isn’t important to identify someone as gay because it no longer matters.  In fact, I was very tempted to do just that.  But in a state where orphans remain in government institutions rather than allowing them to be placed in loving same-sex homes, it’s doubtful that Judge Brennan’s sexual orientation doesn’t matter.

Judge Brennan’s family, the fact that she’s a lesbian, is the elephant in the room – thus, in the articles I saw, the screaming silence about her family, all of whom were there and took part in her investiture and her robing.

If we look to the future and envision how we’d like the world to be, Judge Brennan’s family would be mentioned in the same way a heterosexual couple’s family would be mentioned, and there wouldn’t be any mention of her being a lesbian – any more than articles about heterosexuals mention their sexual orientation.  But that’s not today.  Today we can simply congratulate Judge Brennan, applaud Governor Rick Scott for her appointment, and continue to work toward that future vision.







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