Robinson named to Vermont high court

Lesbian attorney and civil rights activist Beth Robinson has been nominated to serve on the Vermont Supreme Court.

Robinson, one of the key attorneys to lead the case for civil unions and then marriage equality in Vermont, was nominated Tuesday (October 18) by Democratic Governor Pete Shumlin.

“It’s a huge privilege and honor for me,” said Shumlin, in a press conference, “to be able to announce I’ve selected Beth Robinson to serve on the Vermont Supreme Court.”

“Beth has extraordinary integrity,” said Shumlin. “She is one of the most decent, fair, hard-working and bright people in this great state…. There is no one I know in Vermont who is more able to carry out justice for Vermonters, to be fair and clear, and promote the greatness of this state than Beth Robinson.”

Robinson has been serving as Shumlin’s chief legal counsel since he took office in January. Prior to that, she was a lawyer in private practice.

Though she keeps a relatively low profile when it comes to publicity, Robinson has played a key role in the litigation and organization surrounding the historic achievement of the nation’s first civil unions law in Vermont in 2000, and the legislature’s passage of marriage equality nine years later.

The Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) presented her with its 2009 Spirit of Justice Award, for her work in promoting passage of Vermont’s marriage equality law in 2009.

“Without Beth, it simply would not have come together,” said Mary Bonauto, GLAD civil rights director in presenting the award to Robinson.

Robinson graduated from Dartmouth College and the University of Chicago Law School before beginning private practice in Middlebury and Burlington, Vermont, with the law firm of Langrock Sperry & Wool, focusing on family and employment law.

The Human Rights Campaign issued a congratulatory press release on the appointment, calling Robinson “a pioneer for justice and equality under the law.”

Robinson, if confirmed by the state Senate, will be one of five justices on the state supreme court.

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