Gay Rights Advocate Joins Vt. Supreme Court

11/28/11 5:50PM By Ross Sneyd

AP/Toby Talbot
Long-time gay rights advocate Beth Robinson, right, gets a hug from Susan Murray on Monday in Montpelier. Robinson and Murray represented three same-sex couples at the center of Vermont's landmark state Supreme Court decision in 1999.
(Host) A new justice has joined the Vermont Supreme Court. Governor Peter Shumlin swore in Beth Robinson Monday afternoon as an associate justice. She replaces Denise Johnson, who is retiring.

Robinson is a 46-year-old lawyer and long-time gay rights advocate. She says she'll decide cases impartially based on the statutes.

(Robinson) "To me, my pledge is to remember the people because to me the only thing that is important is respecting this abstraction that we call the law, is respecting the people who both shape and give life to that abstraction and whose lives are, in turn, shaped by the dictates that the law requires."

(Host) Since January, Robinson has served as Shumlin's general counsel.

She helped to lead the legal team that represented three same-sex couples at the center of the 1999 state Supreme Court decision that led to passage of Vermont's ground-breaking civil union law.

She also headed Vermont Freedom to Marry, which successfully lobbied for passage of full marriage rights for same-sex couples two years ago. 

Video: Robinson's swearing-in ceremony, courtesy of the governor's office

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