CT House votes yes on McDonald nomination to become 1st openly gay chief justice

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HARTFORD -

By a single vote, state lawmakers moved to make Stamford's Andrew McDonald Connecticut's chief justice -- bringing him one step closer to becoming the nation's first openly gay person to achieve the role.

Normally, judicial nominations don't get much attention, but both major parties are making a strong push over McDonald. He was first approved to the state's Supreme Court with widespread support five years ago.

A TV ad says Republicans are targeting him for his sexuality. The GOP argues his past rulings have been too liberal -- including in a landmark death penalty case that even prompted criticisms from some Democrats. And one website has called him "anti-Christian" and "anti-American."

"I'd like to make it clear that the sexual orientation of this, or any nominee that comes before us, is not a factor," state Rep. Rosa Rebimbas, a Naugatuck Republican, said Monday.

After the state House of Representatives cleared his nomination Monday, his fate moved on to the Senate, where the fight is expected to be even tougher.

Four House Democrats crossed party lines to vote against his nomination Monday, which may be a foreboding sign for his chances in the Senate, where one Democrat has already announced plans to sit out the vote.

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