In the oft-boring and emotionless world of Senate committee hearings to consider nominations, it's rare for a human moment to break through; but Stuart F. Delery, President Barack Obama's openly gay nominee to be the assistant attorney general for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice, got his moment Tuesday.
Delery went off script from his prepared remarks at a Senate Judiciary Committee after Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., who was chairing the session, moved to begin the nominee's testimony by saying, "It looks like you have a happy family behind you there."
Perhaps what was so touching about the moment was how normal it was, even as gay rights are being widely debated in legal systems across the country, including the Supreme Court. Delery is the acting head of the DOJ’s Civil Division. Per CQ's John Gramlich, who was WGDB's eyes in the hearing:
In Delery's prepared statement, he simply wrote that he is “blessed to have a wonderful family, and I thank them for the foundation they provide me.”
But here is what he actually said:
“I do have a number of family members here today and, with the chair’s invitation, I’d like to introduce them. First is my partner, Richard Gervase. I wouldn’t be here without the support that he’s given me over the last 20 years, since we were classmates in law school. In addition to being a great father, he’s a terrific lawyer, and I’ve been improved by his intelligence, judgment, integrity and sense of justice.”
You can watch the exchange here at the 42-minute mark.
Delery continued by thanking his two children with Gervase, Michael and Sebastian, calling them "the joys of my life" and noting that they were present at the hearing "to see a little bit about how their government works."
Given the depths and length of exchanges for the committee's other nominee in consideration — B. Todd Jones for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — Michael and Sebastian got quite the civics lesson. Read more about Delery from a 2012 Metro Weekly profile here.