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The Christopher Panos Controversy

Last week, I wrote about the new Baltimore judges selected by Maryland Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. Parenthetically, I noted that this is a big story in Baltimore because Judge Christopher Panos is openly gay. I added that I look forward to the day when this is not a story.  (Update: See below!!!)   I hesitated to write those words not because I do not believe them but because I want this personal injury lawyer blog to be apolitical. But I felt pretty strongly about discrimination against anyone for any reason other than the content of their character. So, I added my thoughts.

judge panos controversySince my comments, the uproar has continued. I was interviewed earlier in the week by a reporter from the Washington Blade.  (Update: The article has since been removed online.) The reporter asked a lot of detailed questions and wrote a good article. My only two mild criticisms:

1. The article identifies me as “straight” which I am. But the whole point of what I was trying to articulate is that labels – even labels that put you in the majority – divide rather than unite. It is trite, but it really is true.

2. Judge Panos is apparently raising a child with his long-time partner. She’s 16 months old. I criticized the Baltimore Sun for printing her name because I do not see what the point is of identifying her name or his partner’s name either. Neither are public figures. Yet in this article, he repeats both of the names.

My next post will be back to specific topics of interest to tort lawyers in Maryland and throughout the country.

2014 Update: I stumbled on this post today and thought I would write an update.  It is amazing how much the world has changed in the last 6 years.  Today, few people would bat an eye at an openly gay judge.  Judge Panos received rave reviews for his work in District Court and was elevated to the Circuit Court bench last year by Governor O’Malley.  Looking back, I think a part of the reason people took notice of this is that Ehrlich was the one who selected him.   Why Ehrlich drives me crazy with his Baltimore Sun editorials where he parrots the party line on every topic and never offers a single opinion I could not easily find in the GOP Platform, he is probably a good man who made the best pick even though there was little political upside for him to do so.

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