Forest Hills lawyer launches campaign to become Queens County’s first openly gay elected judge

Forest Hills
Forest Hills attorney Michael Goldman launches his bid to become the first elected openly gay judge in Queens County. (Photo by Steven Herzog)

Forest Hills attorney Michael Goldman launched his campaign for civil court in Queens County’s 1st Municipal Court District.

An employee of New York’s court system, Goldman has also practiced locally and has centered his campaign on communicating his acute knowledge of the law, balanced temperament and respect for the litigants who would enter his courtroom. Goldman said he’s garnered a broad and diverse record of volunteer service to his Queens community and its neighborhoods while petitioning recently on the corner of 30th Avenue and 31st Street in Astoria.

“I am very excited to have the opportunity to represent the people of the 1st District as their next judge. I’m proud to have served as a court attorney, principal law clerk and small claims arbitrator in Queens County, which is my home,” Goldman said. “These experiences have allowed me to understand the intricate ins and outs of being a judge through direct participation in trials and in chambers. I know firsthand that it is a judge’s foremost responsibility to ensure justice that is arrived at fairly, impartially and with focused discretion.”

Since 2002, he has served in the state’s Unified Court System, currently working as senior court attorney to Justice Jessica Earle-Gargan. As both a court attorney and law clerk, Goldman has dealt with the adjudication and resolution of cases covering several diverse areas of the law. Over 20 years, he’s been directly involved with thousands of these disputes, providing him with a wealth of insight into the problems working New Yorkers often face.

If elected, Goldman would be the first openly gay judge elected in Queens.

“As a judge, it will be my highest priority to see every side of an issue and the point of view of each individual litigant. The civil court is often called the people’s court because the everyday issues that affect everyday New Yorkers are most often heard there,” Goldman said. “Often, these simple issues can have a lasting impact on people’s lives. Litigants, who are often self-represented, regularly come before the court during extremely vulnerable and emotional periods of their lives. It is the duty of each individual judge to recognize this vulnerability, protect the rights of litigants before them, and ensure they take a perspective that administers fairness, respect and justice in every decision. Impartiality is crucial in rendering decisions that work best for all parties involved in a case.”

Goldman was endorsed by state Senator Jessica Ramos.

“Queens needs a new generation of judges that reflect the needs and diversity of our communities,” Ramos said. “Michael is an accomplished attorney and community champion for our LGBTQ neighbors and beyond. He will undoubtedly bring fairness and equity to the bench, and that’s why I support his candidacy for civil court judge.”

State Assemblyman Juan Ardila also threw his support behind Goldman’s campaign.

“I am proud to endorse Michael Goldman for Civil Court, to become the first openly gay judge to be elected in our borough,” Ardila said. “Michael knows what it’s like to be the victim of an unjust system that goes against who New Yorkers are, who we love, and how we wish to live our lives. I’m confident that he’ll rule on cases using a lens centered on equity and justice for all. I hope all of Queens unites to bring this important win for the borough and our justice system.”

Goldman, who serves as co-chair of the Queens County Bar Association LGBTQ+ Committee, was also endorsed by district leaders from across Queens including Melissa Sklarz, Beeana Mulligan, Nick Berkowitz, Matthew DiStefano and Antonio Alfonso.

”For far too long, queer New Yorkers living in Queens have had no one on the bench who understands our lives, families and experiences,” District Leader Émilia Decaudin said. “I am excited to support Michael’s campaign — he is someone who will not just finally bring this perspective to the New York City Civil Court, but the qualifications, character and work ethic to be a judge that our community can be proud of.”