WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama on Wednesday made two openly gay appointments to his administration and nominated a gay man for a federal judgeship in Manhattan.
The president selected openly lesbian LGBT advocate Roberta Achtenberg of San Francisco to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. Achtenberg is a former San Francisco supervisor, was the first openly gay presidential appointee during the Clinton administration, and is a founder of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).
“The appointment of Roberta Achtenberg to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is history making. Roberta will be the first openly lesbian or gay person appointed to the Commission,” said NCLR executive director Kate Kendell. “More importantly, her appointment assures that a woman of remarkable intelligence, broad commitment to justice and equality, and a life-long legacy of public service will be there to give voice and representation to those who are denied opportunity, fairness, and equality under the law.”
Former National Gay & Lesbian Task Force head Jeffrey Levi was named to the Advisory Group Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health at the Health and Human Services Department.
“Jeff Levi’s long and distinguished career in public health advocacy and research has well prepared him to assume a larger role in public health service to the nation,” said Rea Carey of The Task Force.
Openly gay attorney J. Paul Oetken was nominated for a seat on the Manhattan-based U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. If confirmed, Oetken could become the first openly gay man to serve on a federal court in the U.S. The nomination of another openly gay lawyer, Edward C. DuMont, to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, is also pending.