Stuart Delery, a longtime advocate for LGBTQ rights, will be the first openly LGBTQ person to serve as White House counsel when he assumes the position next month, President Biden announced on Wednesday. Delery current serves as White House deputy counsel.
Delery was appointed acting associate attorney general, the Justice Department’s No. 3 position, in 2012, becoming the highest-ranking LGBTQ official in the department’s history, according to a White House official.
In his seven years at the department, Delery argued against the Defense of Marriage Act, which barred legal recognition of same-sex marriages, and went on to oversee the implementation of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision overturning the law.
Part of an administrative shake-up ahead of the midterms, the appointment is also one of a number of elevations of LGBTQ people to high-profile roles in the Biden administration. In early May, Biden named Karine Jean-Pierre as White House press secretary, making her the first openly gay person appointed to the position.
The administration also tapped Admiral Rachel Levine for assistant health secretary. After her confirmation in March 2021, Levine became the first openly transgender person confirmed by the Senate to a federal post.
The White House counsel, among other responsibilities, plays a major part in presidential appointments to the judiciary.
Dana Remus, who previously held the post, was key to confirming Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, as well as appointing scores of lower court judges from all sorts of backgrounds.
Don McGahn, who served in the role in the Trump White House, made history at the time by filling appellate court seats at record pace. His efforts were crucial to the confirmations of Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch.
Delery graduated from Yale Law School and clerked for Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Byron White, according to a White House official. He lives in Washington with his husband and two children.