State Sen. Julia Boseman (D-New Hanover) received praise from the Senate’s Democratic leadership as she departed the state legislature for a final time last week.

Boseman, elected to the General Assembly in 2004, was the state’s first openly lesbian or gay legislator. She decided not to run again for her Senate seat this year and instead ran for a district court judicial position. She lost the primary in that race.

On the floor of the Senate Friday, the last day of this year’s session, President Pro Tem Marc Basnight said he considered Boseman a “true friend.”

“I was a bit taken aback when I was told Julia was gay, and we had never elected a person who way gay in the North Carolina body, who was a lady and who had publicly disclosed what her preference was in life,” Basnight said, according to Pat Gannon at The Star News.

He added, “She has two children, and she will raise them well. She is a true friend of mine, and I am proud to have served with her. So Julia, wherever you may be, a friend is recognizing a friend.”

Bo Dean, a Wilmington resident and Boseman supporter, asked his friends via a Facebook message to thank Boseman.

“Today is the ending of one Chapter of one of the bravest women/people, I have ever known: Julia Boseman,” Dean wrote. “Focused on legislation that served ALL of us in this county and ALL of us in the state, she made history, fought the greatest obstacles and paved the way…I hope everyone will take a moment to say thank you to this powerful person.”

Boseman was one of many key players in the passage of last year’s School Violence Prevention Act, and saw the bill through its narrow passage in the Senate.

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.