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First Openly Gay Justice Sworn Onto Puerto Rico’s Supreme Court

Maite Oronoz Rodríguez will be the first LGBTQ Justice to serve on Puerto Rico's Supreme Court.

Oronoz Rodríguez was sworn in on Tuesday as the Court's first openly gay member. Oronoz Rodríguez , 38, will also be the youngest associate judge and fourth woman on the nine-member Court. She was nominated last month by the commonwealth's governor, Alejandro Garcia Padilla, to fill an empty seat.

This milestone captures the essence of a twenty-first century Puerto Rico, the Governor said. The new associate justice formerly served as Chief Legal Counsel to the mayor of San Juan and holds several liberal arts and legal degrees from U.S. universities including Columbia University and Villanova University.

"She represents enthusiasm, dedication to public service and an open and creative mind," Garcia Padilla said in a statement. He also considers her appointment another breakthrough in gender equality. "This appointment, once again, shows that women are gaining ground in their professions, challenging prejudice and breaking down higher barriers than those demanded of others that ran the same way to the Supreme Court."

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— Natalie Daher