WASHINGTON — Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg officiated at a same-sex wedding this weekend in what is believed to be a first for a member of America’s highest court.
Ginsburg officiated Saturday at the marriage of Kennedy Center President Michael Kaiser and John Roberts, a government economist.
“Michael Kaiser is a friend and someone I much admire,” Ginsburg said in a written statement Friday. “That is why I am officiating at his wedding.”
The private ceremony took place at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, a national memorial to President John F. Kennedy. The 80-year-old Ginsburg, an opera lover, is a frequent guest at the center.
Same-sex marriage is legal in the District of Columbia and 13 US states.
“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,” Ginsburg told The Washington Post in an interview.
Kaiser told The Associated Press that he asked Ginsburg to officiate because she is a longtime friend.
“It’s very meaningful mostly to have a friend officiate, and then for someone of her stature, it’s a very big honor,” Kaiser said. “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.”
Justices generally avoid taking stands on political issues. The wedding, though, comes after the court’s landmark ruling in June to expand federal recognition of same-sex marriages, striking down part of an anti-gay marriage law.
While hearing arguments in the case in March, Ginsburg argued for treating marriages equally. The rights associated with marriage are pervasive, she said, and the law had created two classes of marriage.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.