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Connecticut News

McDonald Poised To Become Nation's First Openly Gay Chief Justice

Jessica Hill
Andrew McDonald, center, then-legal counsel, applauds between Chief of Staff Timothy Bannon, left, and Budget Director Benjamin Barners as Gov. Malloy speaks at the Capitol in Hartford in 2011.

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy has nominated state Associate Supreme Court Justice Andrew McDonald to be Connecticut’s next chief justice. If confirmed, McDonald would be the first openly gay state chief justice in the country.

Following Malloy’s announcement, the 51-year-old McDonald thanked his family, teachers, colleagues and husband, Charles Gray, for making this day possible.

"When I was born here in Connecticut a little more than 50 years ago, loving relationships like the one Charles and I cherish were criminal in 49 states, including Connecticut. When I came out in the early 1990s, I had family members who loved me deeply but still counseled me against pursuing either a career in law or in public service because of the deeply ingrained prejudices held by some people at that time. But now, because of changes brought about by evolving understanding of people, new statutes passed by legislators and important court cases, indeed by the rule of law, this day was made possible."

Malloy says his nomination of McDonald is a good day for Connecticut.

“Or at least on the confirmation vote will be a good day because we are marking yet another chapter.”

McDonald would be the first openly gay state chief justice. Puerto Rico Chief Justice Maite Rodriguez became the first openly gay Supreme Court leader in U.S. history in February 2016.

McDonald has served on Connecticut’s Supreme Court for the past five years. He was nominated by Malloy. Before that, he was general counsel for the governor's office under Malloy, a state senator from Stamford, and corporate counsel for the city of Stamford when Malloy was mayor. McDonald also managed Malloy’s first campaign for mayor.

If confirmed, McDonald would take over from Chief Justice Chase Rogers who is retiring on February 5,  after more than 10 years on the job.