The quote is from conversation Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020) had with law students at Georgetown University in 2015.
“All of the incentives, all of the benefits that marriage affords would still be available. So you’re not taking away anything from heterosexual couples. They would have the very same incentive to marry, all the benefits that come with marriage that they do now.“June 2015
Don’t be stupid, and don’t be selfish; this is not a year to forgo voting.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts thinks we are all stupid, I guess. He says there are no such thing as Trump judges, just judges doing their best, and that we should be thankful for an independent judiciary.
But the court is totally partisan. The conservative majority continually votes on cases with political ramifications. It’s not “equal rights” they strive for but the dominance of whatever constitutional interpretation theory they are going for now, including the “original intent” of the founding fathers; including the 21st century issues such as Voting Rights, Religious Liberty, guns, money in politics, and POTUS’s immigration policies.
As the White Nationalist president seeks re-election, his rightward overhaul of the federal judiciary has been invoked as one of his best accomplishments. His judges, like the president himself, breaks significantly with the norms set by his Democratic and Republican predecessors.
They are more openly engaged in causes important to Republicans, such as opposition to same-sex marriage and to government funding for abortion. They are overwhelmingly young, male and very conservative. They handed down more than 10,000 decisions and dissents in 2019. Several have been on POTUS’s Supreme Court shortlist.
In 2019, NYPD’s hate crimes unit investigated slur-ridden “DIE” graffiti scrawled on a Brooklyn subway station poster of Ginsburg. It was a poster ad for the book, The Unstoppable Ruth Bader Ginsburg: American Icon by Antonia Felix that came out to mark her 25th year on the Supreme Court.
Marriage Equality is now a Constitutional right everywhere in America, thanks to the SCOTUS’s landmark ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges in June 2015. It was a majority decision of 5 to 4, but there was one Justice who has stood out above the rest as a steadfast and fierce supporter of all LGBTQ Rights, and we like to call her “The Notorious RBG”.
Ginsburg’s support was crucial, from her personal opinion of the American public’s shifting attitude to the earlier oral arguments and, ultimately, the historical decision that says anyone in any state can marry the person they love. Justices Anthony Kennedy, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan joined Ginsburg in agreeing that gay couples should be free to marry in all 50 states. We all know who declined.
Ginsburg was at the top of her class at Harvard Law in 1959, and after graduating she did not receive a single job offer. (Neither did Former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor when she graduated from Stanford Law, seven years earlier). Ginsburg had to beg for work. Finally, a favorite Harvard professor had to pressure a U.S. Federal Judge in Manhattan to hire Ginsburg, threatening the judge he’d never recommend another Columbia University student to him unless he gave Ginsburg the big break. Her first assignment was to study Civil Law in Sweden. She learned Swedish for the job. She next taught at Rutgers Law School, and received tenure in 1969.
Before that landmark decision, Ginsburg had already been very vocal about same-sex marriage:
“The change in people’s attitudes on this issue has been enormous. In recent years, people have said: ‘This is the way I am’. And others looked around, and discovered they are our next-door neighbors, we’re very fond of them. Or it’s our child’s best friend, or even our child. I think that as more and more people came out and said that ‘this is who I am’, the rest of us recognized that they are one of us.“
Ginsburg used her noted wit to shut down the opposing side’s arguments. When “tradition” was brought up as an argument to maintain the marriage status quo, she countered by pointing out the extremely antiquated laws that defined marriage as being between a dominant male and a subordinate female. Except for conservative Christians, that was a marriage tradition that desperately needed to be challenged, just like the opponents’ idea of marriage as only between a man and a woman.
When John Bursch, the lawyer representing the states who want to keep their same-sex marriage bans, argued that marriage was all about procreating, Ginsburg said:
“Suppose a couple, a 70-year-old couple, comes in and they want to get married? You don’t have to ask them any questions. You know they are not going to have any children.“
She even officiated at a same-sex wedding earlier, already a sign of her advocacy, where she also dropped a sly hint about the impending SCOTUS decision. When she pronounced Shakespeare Theatre Company artistic director Michael Kahn and New York City architect Charles Mitchem, to be “husband and husband”, Ginsburg emphasized the word constitution as she said: “By the powers vested in me by the Constitution of the United States.”