The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division has hired Matt Nosanchuk, a former staffer for Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), to serve as a a senior counselor and a representative to the LGBT community.
Nosanchuk, who is openly gay, has worked for the DOJ's Office of Policy Development and handled judiciary and civil rights issues. He also advised the Obama campaign on LGBT issues during the run for President.
The hiring of an LGBT outreach person for the DOJ comes on the heels of huge push-back from the community, ranging from complaints against inaction on LGBT issues and legislation to the Obama Department of Justice's brief defending the "Defense of Marriage Act."
Nosanchuk will have a full portfolio of cases and will also spend time reaching out the LGBT community.
Tobias Wolff, who served as chair of the national LGBT policy committee for the Obama campaign, announced Nosanchuk's appointment:
I am pleased to pass along the news that Matt Nosanchuk has been hired as Senior Counselor to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in the Department of Justice. Matt served as one of the leaders of the LGBT policy group from the first days of the Obama campaign. He is a respected out gay attorney and public policy advocate whose previous positions include serving as counselor to Senator Bill Nelson of Florida and doing significant policy work on gun control. In addition to his other duties as Senior Counselor to the Assistant AG, Matt will be the front office point person on LGBT issues for the DOJ Civil Rights Division.
This isn't the first time such a position has been created. In the Clinton Justice Department, Helen Norton worked as a deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights.
I think this is a great move and will hopefully not only shape future Justice Department actions, but also make sure an LGBT voice is heard when our issues come up (something that obviously didn't happen with the original DOMA brief).
We'll be playing close attention to this position and how much influence it has on the DOJ.