WASHINGTON — A judge’s elevation to the federal bench could be derailed because she helped preside over a commitment ceremony for a lesbian couple four years ago. Republican Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas has placed a hold on the nomination of Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Janet T. Neff, saying her presence at the 2002 Massachusetts ceremony raises questions about her judicial philosophy. ‘It seems to speak about her view of judicial activism,’ Brownback said Friday. ‘It’s something I want to inquire of her further.’ Brownback, a vehement opponent of gay marriage who has presidential ambitions, said he wants to know whether Neff might have presided over ‘an illegal marriage ceremony’ that skirted Massachusetts law. He has asked the Justice Department for a formal legal opinion on Neff’s conduct. Ceremonies marking the union of same-sex couples are usually symbolic events that carry no legal benefits and require no government approval. Massachusetts did not recognize gay marriages in 2002 but legalized same-sex marriage two years later after a ruling from its highest court. Conservative activists expressed concerns about Neff after seeing her name in a September 2002 New York Times ‘Weddings/Celebrations’ announcement. It said Neff led […]

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