The Senate made history on Tuesday with its vote to confirm Darrin Gayles to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Gayles, who was confirmed 98-0, is the nation's first openly gay African-American man to be confirmed to the federal bench. His vote came just after the Senate confirmed Staci Yandle to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, by a vote of 52-44. She marks some milestones of her own as the first black lesbian federal judge in two decades and the second one in the nation's history. The first, Judge Deborah Batts, was sworn in during June 1994.
"Never before in the course of the history of our state has there been an Article III federal judge who is openly a member of the LGBT community," Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said ahead of Yandle's vote. "In short, Staci Yandle's confirmation marks another important milestone in America's journey toward equality of opportunity."
By a vote of 92-4, the Senate also confirmed Salvador Mendoza to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, making him the first Hispanic federal judge to serve in that region of Washington.