Mark Leban, Florida, 1996
Mark King Leban
Born April 3, 1947
Circuit Court Judge
1.5 million constituents
Appointed County Court Judge September 1995
Elected September 1996
Elevated to Circuit Court June 2005
About Mark Leban for Out and Elected in the USA
Judge Leban grew up in Dade County and witnessed the Anita Bryant spectacle on the 70’s. As an attorney, he was active in the local Gay and Lesbian Lawyers Association and served on its Board of Directors. As a judge, he has led the effort to educate judges throughout Florida on sexual orientation sensitivity training and presented a first-ever program in July 1998 to all County Judges in Florida dealing with a child custody battle between a lesbian mother and her divorced husband, as well as a program involving exposure of jury bias against homosexuals. Leban has instituted changes in prospective juror questionnaires such as substituting "do you have a significant other?" for "are you married?" – and he ruled that sexual orientation is a protected class for purposes of exercising peremptory challenges to jurors based solely on their sexual orientation.
He regularly lectures on bias issues at the Lavender Law Conference of the National Lesbian and Gay Lawyers Association each year and serves as Vice-President of the International Association of Gay and Lesbian Judges (IAGLJ). The IAGLJ consists of more than 50 judges throughout the United States and Canada, England and the Caribbean Islands. Among the association’s goals is to increase the visibility of lesbian and gay judicial officers so as to serve as role models for other lesbian and gay people, and to bring the prominence of these elected officials to the attention of the general public. IALGJ also helps ensure equal treatment of all people who appear in courtrooms, whether litigant, attorney, juror or in any other capacity. The group helps coordinate the sharing of information between lesbian and gay men who are interested in seeking judicial office. He and his partner have been together since 1981.