Puerto Rico Nominates First Lesbian Candidate for Supreme Court Spot

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For the first time ever, a lesbian is poised to sit on Puerto Rico's Supreme Court. Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla announced the nomination on Wednesday.

Currently, nominee Maite Oronoz Rodriguez is serving as the director of legal affairs for San Juan, the capital city.

After the announcement she thanked her family and her longtime partner, Gina Mendez Miro. Mendez Miro is the chief of staff for Puerto Rico Senate President Eduardo Bhatia.


"Thank you for your unconditional support through the hardest of times, and through the best of times, like today… I wouldn't be here without you," Maite said of her partner, according to Puerto Rican daily newspaper El Nuevo Dia. "I am conscious of the enormous responsibility that has come to me."

The nomination is the latest progressive step the LGBTQ community has seen Gov. Padilla take since he took office in January 2013. Under his current term, at least four pro-LGBTQ laws have been passed, including measures aimed at banning discrimination against the community.


Violence and discrimination have been longstanding issues on the island. A wave of targeted murders claimed at least 18 LGBTQ people's lives in 2011.

The mayor of San Juan celebrated the announcement on Twitter, saying "Today is a great day for equality!"


Maite's partner Mendez Miro addressed skepticism of impartiality by saying there would be a "very profound evaluation" process, and adding that only the merits of an individual would be considered, apart from their sexual orientation.


"The governor has exercised his constitutional knowledge, and named someone who he understands is the best candidate. And I agree with him," she said.

"I said last year when four laws in support of the LGBTQ community were approved: There is no going back," Pedro Julio Serrano of Puerto Rico Para Tod@s, a Puerto Rican LGBT advocacy group, told the Washington Blade of the nomination. "Today we take a historic step in the right direction that demonstrates that Puerto Rico is for all of us. The governor has made an excellent nomination."


The Puerto Rican Senate is expected to approve Maite's nomination during confirmation hearings that will take place next week.

Daniel Rivero is a producer/reporter for Fusion who focuses on police and justice issues. He also skateboards, does a bunch of arts related things on his off time, and likes Cuban coffee.