A Houston judge is running for Texas’ highest court, but he’s approaching uncharted territory

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In case you missed it, earlier this year, Harris County District Judge Steven Kirkland announced his candidacy for the currently all-Republican Texas Supreme Court.

Running as a Democrat, Kirkland said he hopes he can make history by being the first openly gay man elected to the state’s highest court.

“Too many judges have forgotten they serve the people, not political parties,” Kirkland provided in a press release announcing his candidacy. “Texans deserve better.”

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Known as the “gay judge,” Kirkland said he knows many Texans may not ready for an openly gay judge, but it’s not stopping him from fighting for the justice he believes he can bring to the Lone Star State.

Serving in Houston for 12 years, Kirkland’s legal resume includes his current work in the City of Houston city attorney’s office.

According to the judge’s website, off the bench, he works to help the homeless, support affordable housing, preserve historic architecture and build thriving communities across Houston.

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Records show the last time Texans elected a Democrat to a statewide office in Texas occurred in 1994.

However, party leaders say they believe a blue tide is coming, reportedly asking Kirkland to run in early 2017.

He reportedly declined to pursue the opportunity until reading about the Texas Supreme Court’s ruling regarding benefits for same-sex couples in Houston.

Despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling recognizing same sex marriage in 2015, Texas court records show a judge ruled the city of Houston is not required to provide benefits for same-sex partners of city employees.

“It was a political decision,” Kirkland said in an interview with the Houston Press. “It had nothing to do with the law. The justices were just giving into pressure from the governor and the other politicians, and they knew it.”

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Kirkland said he believes Texans deserve decisions made for the right reasons, not from political pressure.

But some agree it’s a hard road to the highest court, especially for a Democrat:

“Texas is not a red state. It is a nonvoting blue state,” Wendy Davis, former Democratic candidate for Governor said in an interview with ABC News. “Are we looking at a wave where enough people are going to own the power of their voice and show up and vote? I hope.”

Kirkland said he hopes he can bring those votes to the polls next November.

What do you think?

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