Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Darrin P. Gayles reached an American milestone Tuesday when the U.S. Senate confirmed him as a federal judge, making Gayles the first openly gay black male jurist to sit on the bench.
The noon vote was 97-0.
Gayles has served on the Florida circuit court since 2011 and before on the Miami-Dade county court, beginning in 2004. He graduated from George Washington University School of Law.
In February, President Barack Obama nominated Gayles and White House officials noted that he would be the first openly gay male African-American federal judge. That distinction had previously generated political opposition to the president's nomination of another Miami-Dade Circuit Court judge.
Last year, Obama's appointment of state Circuit Judge William L. Thomas as a federal judge for the Southern District of Florida ran into a dead end. He was not renominated this year. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, the conservative Republican from Miami, blocked Thomas' appointment — after first backing him along with U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.