Senate confirms gay man as U.S. attorney
QSanAntonio.com, September 29, 2011
A September 27 vote by the United States Senate has cleared the way for
the appointment of Robert Lee Pitman, an openly gay man, as U.S. attroney
for the Western District of Texas, which includes San Antonio, Austin,
Del Rio, Midland and El Paso.
Pitman was one of four U.S. attorney candidates nominated by President
Barack Obama to serve in Texas. The other nominees approved by the Senate
were Kenneth Magidson in the Southern District, Sarah Saldana in the Northern
District and Malcolm Bates in the Eastern District.
Pitman is a native of Ft. Worth and graduated from Abilene Christian University
where he served as student body president. He received his law degree
from the University of Texas School of Law.
In 2003, Pitman was selected by the judges in the Western District of
Texas to serve an eight-year term as a U.S. magistrate judge, holding
civil trials and handling pretrial criminal tasks.
In an article in the Austin American Statesman at that time, Pitman described
his upbringing as "parochial; really sort of traditional." He
says the turning point in his life came when he moved to Austin to attend
"Until that time, Pitman had struggled with his sexual orientation.
In Austin, he said, he 'came to terms' with himself, and that launched
him toward success, both professionally and personally. It started when
he met other gay men at the law school who were smart and decent people,
'not the people I was warned about,' he said,"wrote the Statesman.
In 2009, Republican Senators John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchinson submitted
Pitman's name to President Obama as one of two candidates for United States
Attorney for the Western District of Texas.
Obama nominated Pitman for the post last June even though there was opposition
from conservative groups in Texas and from the state's Congressional Democrats
who had compiled their own list of candidates.
“These nominees have proven to be tenacious and diligent in their
pursuit of justice and I am honored to nominate them to serve their fellow
Americans as U.S. attorneys,” Obama wrote in a release in advance
of the nominations of Pitman and the three other Texas nominees.
Pitman will become one of four openly GLBT U.S. attorneys, a list which
includes Jenny Durkan of the Western District of Washington, Laura Duffy
of the Southern District of California and Anne Tompkins of the Western
District of North Carolina.