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Sen. Mooney's attempt to block confirmation of gay judge fails

February 12, 2003|by LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

Sen. Alex X. Mooney failed in his attempt to block an openly gay woman from being confirmed to the Baltimore City District Court bench.

The Maryland Senate voted 38-4 Tuesday to approve Judge Halee F. Weinstein.

Mooney, R-Frederick/Washington, argued on the Senate floor that Weinstein lied on her application for military service in order to serve in the U.S. Army in the 1980s.

Without mentioning that Weinstein is gay, Mooney gave senators a copy of a blank military form used before President Clinton's don't-ask-don't-tell policy. He noted an asterisk beside the question about sexual orientation.

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"Clearly the nominee falsified her application in order to gain entrance into the military. I think we ought to hold our judges to a higher standard and falsifying official military documents is below those standards," Mooney said.

Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, voted to confirm Weinstein because, he said, she is a "law-and-order judge."

"I know a lot of people who lied about their age to get into the military, especially during World War II," Munson said. "The question occurs to me should that prevent them from being judges?"

Sen. Delores G. Kelley, D-Baltimore, said Weinstein is qualified for the job.

She is a former assistant state's attorney with a bachelor's degree from Campbell University and a law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law.

"Each of us has a right to have a family of our own composition and it's our own personal business," Kelley said.

"It seems he is completely out of step with his own party and anyone who knows her qualifications," said civil rights activist David "Kip" Koontz. "He's using it to further his militant heterosexual agenda."

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich supported Weinstein's appointment and conveyed that to Mooney, said Ehrlich spokesman Henry Fawell.

Gov. Parris Glendening had appointed Weinstein to the job in August.

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