House confirms nomination of lawyer in gay marriage case

The House of Representatives voted 129 to 10 on Thursday to confirm the nomination of Maureen M. Murphy, a lawyer who played a pivotal role in the legalization of same-sex marriage in Connecticut, to the Superior Court.

Murphy’s nomination overcame opposition at her confirmation hearing Wednesday about her role as a court-appointed guardian for an eight-year-old boy in a bitter custody case won by the child’s father.

A friend of the boy’s mother and a pediatrician hired by the boy’s mother claimed that Murphy ignored evidence that the boy had been sexually abused.

But court records provided before the vote showed that Murphy was among a number of professionals involved in the case who saw no evidence of abuse. According to the record, the pediatrician never examined the boy.

“Clearly, she’s qualified,” said Rep. John Hetherington, R-New Canaan, the ranking House Republican on the legislature’s Judiciary Committee.

Hetherington said he voted against her in committee, only because he wanted more time to review the case. He faulted the committee for forcing a vote Wednesday.

“She was poorly served,” he said.

Murphy, 61, of Middletown is one of six lawyers nominated to the Superior Court in January by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

She came before the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday as the first gay judicial nominee whose sexual orientation was a matter of public record as a result of her high profile in the gay rights movement.

Neither her sexual orientation, nor her role as a lawyer in the legal challenge that led to the legalization of same-sex marriage came up in her confirmation hearing or in the brief House debate.