Ginsburg becomes first United States Supreme Court justice to officiate a same-sex marriage

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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Official photograph of US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Image: Steve Pettewat.

Yesterday, Ruth Bader Ginsburg became the first United States Supreme Court justice to officiate a same-sex marriage. The ceremony took place in the District of Colombia, in the atrium of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The center's President Michael M. Kaiser married economist John Roberts before a group of around 200 guests.

Ginsburg is quoted by the Washington Post as saying of her officiating, "I think it will be one more statement that people who love each other and want to live together should be able to enjoy the blessings and the strife in the marriage relationship [...] It won’t be long before there will be another". The Supreme Court Justice is scheduled to officiate at another same-sex wedding ceremony later this month between David Hagedorn and director of communications and executive affairs for the National Weather Service Michael Widomski.

Justices occasionally perform marriages, often for those who have clerked for them. Ginsburg suggested same-sex couples hadn't requested justices marry them before lest their involvement interfere if and when the issue came before the Supreme Court. Opposite-sex marriages officiated by members of the Supreme Court included Ginsburg officiating at her son's wedding, and Justice Clarence Thomas officiating at one of Rush Limbaugh's weddings.

Ginsburg was among the justices siding with the majority in two cases dealing with same-sex marriage that came before the Supreme Court this year.

Same-sex marriage is legal in thirteen US states and the District of Colombia. It is also legal in or in parts of seventeen other countries.