WASHINGTON — Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will become the first Supreme Court member to conduct a same-sex marriage ceremony Saturday when she officiates at the Washington wedding of Kennedy Center president Michael Kaiser.
The gala wedding of Kaiser and economist John Roberts at the performing arts center brings together the nation’s highest court and the capital’s high society and will mark a new milepost in recognition of same-sex unions.
Such marriages were virtually unheard of a little more than a decade ago but now are legal in the nation’s capital, 13 states, and in all or part of 17 other countries. After victories at the Supreme Court earlier this summer, backers are challenging bans on same-sex marriages in states where they remain prohibited.
Ginsburg and Kaiser are close friends. She is perhaps the Supreme Court’s most ardent supporter of the fine arts, especially opera. Kaiser has been at the helm of the Kennedy Center since 2001 and is an internationally recognized expert in arts management and one of Washington’s influential civic leaders.
Roberts, who works at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, is not related to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. At the time that save-the-date cards were sent out this spring, there were jokes involving the coincidence of the names.
Earlier this summer, Ginsburg was in the majority in a pair of major gay rights victories at the Supreme Court. The court said the federal government may not refuse to recognize legally married gay couples, and it reinstated a lower court ruling that found California’s ban on same-sex marriages unconstitutional.