Gavin Newsom Ken Yeager state California city San Jose county Santa Clara lgbtq reports Gavin Newsom Ken Yeager state California city San Jose county Santa Clara

Out South Bay judges tell their stories

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Becoming a judge in California is not easy, as most jurists are appointed by the governor after applying and waiting a year or more.

The number of LGBTQ judges in the state increased in 2021, according to data released by Governor Gavin Newsom's office, and there are now at least 83 out members in the judicial branch, according to data from the state and the Bay Area Reporter.Three of Santa Clara County's six out judges recently participated in a panel discussion and talked about their career paths and what it means to create welcoming courtrooms.

Ken Yeager, a gay man and executive director of the Bay Area Municipal Elections Committee Foundation, which sponsored the event, invited the trio as part of the organization's focus on South Bay LGBTQ history."If I had to take a test on 'Jeopardy!' on how many we had and who they were, I would have probably failed it," said Yeager, a former county supervisor and San Jose City Councilmember.In the process of reaching out to the jurists, he discovered how "remarkable" they all are, he said.

Judges Julie Emede, Charles F. Adams, and Jessica Delgado took part in the February 12 panel at San Jose's History Park. The other three, Judges Jacqueline Arroyo, Beth McGowen, and Shawna Schwarz, who was the county's first out jurist, were unable to participate."It's very important for the LGBTQ community to really know who these community leaders are," Yeager said.An estimated 30 people came out to the park to listen to the judges speak.

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