​Ruth Bader Ginsburg Wedding Becomes First Justice to Officiate

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September 1, 2013

Ruth Bader Ginsburg became the first Supreme Court justice to officiate a same-sex wedding on Saturday. The move by Ginsburg comes just two months after the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act.

On Saturday, she married Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser and economist John Roberts. The ceremony took place at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

The recent Marriage Act the law excluding the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages legalized by the states. The court ruled DOMA was unconstitutional by a 5-4 vote.

During the March oral arguments on DOMA, Ginsburg said supporters of the law seemed to want “two types of marriage,” likening same-sex unions to the “skim milk” version of marriage.

The ruling granted legally married gay men and women access to the same federal entitlements available to opposite-sex married couples.

Justice Ginsburg, who was appointed to the nine-member high court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, voted in the majority in that case.

Same-sex marriage is now legal in 13 states and Washington DC, and since the court’s decision, the federal government under President Barack Obama has taken several steps to grant same-sex marriage couples the same legal status as opposite-sex couples.

Justice Ginsburg told the Washington Post newspaper she believed none of the Supreme Court justices had been asked previously to conduct a same-sex ceremony for fear it would compromise their ability to hear a case on the issue.

Kaiser asked Ginsburg to officiate.

“It’s very meaningful mostly to have a friend officiate, and then for someone of her stature, it’s a very big honor,” Kaiser told the Associated Press. “I think that everything that’s going on that makes same-sex marriage possible and visible helps to encourage others and to make the issue seem less of an issue, to make it just more part of life.”

Ginsburg released a statement Friday calling Kaiser “a friend and someone I much admire.”

“That is why I am officiating at his wedding,” she said.