Gay rights and the Supremes

Justice Antonin Scalia has made it clear that he is, at best, uncomfortable with the series of decisions made by the Supreme Court on gay rights.  Soon after the decisions last June on DOMA and Prop 8,  Asawin Suebaeug wrote an article for Mother Jones in which the best and worst parts of his dissents were highlighted. 

Justice Antonin Scalia is not a big fan of gay sex, gay marriage, or gay anything. His dissent to Wednesday’s decision on United States v. Windsor, in which the Supreme Court ruled, 5-4, that legally married same-sex couples should get the same federal benefits as straight ones, shows as much. (The high court’s ruling invalidates a provision of the Defense of Marriage Act that barred same-sex couples from receiving health, tax, and retirement benefits.) In a nutshell, Scalia’s dissent focuses on the court’s prime purpose and power, and he is aghast that the majority assumed the power to shoot down DOMA. (To read the seven worst things Scalia has said or written about homosexuality, click here.)

And Andy Borowitz has made a cottage industry out of zinging him including “Scalia Arrested Trying to Burn Down the Supreme Court”.

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—In a shocking end to an illustrious legal career, police arrested Justice Antonin Scalia today as he attempted to set the Supreme Court building ablaze.

Justice Scalia, who had seemed calm and composed during the announcement of two major rulings this morning, was spotted by police minutes later outside the building, carrying a book of matches and a gallon of kerosene.

Back at the Supreme Court, Justice Scalia’s colleagues said they hoped he would get the help he needed, except for Justice Clarence Thomas, who said nothing.

Meanwhile  Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg celebrated the marriage of a long time friend to another man while Justice Anthony Kennedy who wrote the decision on DOMA is being celebrated himself.

Justice Kennedy was a guest at an event in San Francisco featuring the Gay Men’s Chorus and speeches thanking him for his DOMA decision as well as his two previous decisions expanding gay rights.  The New York Times reported

The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus sang “Give ’Em Hope” for a revered and in some ways surprising guest who shared a California stage with them last month: Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.

Justice Kennedy was in San Francisco for an American Bar Association meeting, but he was also there to be celebrated by the men on the risers behind him. In remarks from the stage, San Francisco’s mayor, Edwin M. Lee, thanked the justice “for upholding the Constitution and justice for all” in his majority opinion in June in United States v. Windsor, a major gay rights victory.

“Freedom is always a work in progress,” Justice Kennedy said in his own remarks, making clear that there was more work to be done.

Justice Ginsburg performs an historic marriage ceremony.

Justice Ginsburg performs an historic marriage ceremony.

justice Ginsburg became the first Supreme to officiate at a gay wedding.

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.”

“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.

“It won’t be long before there will be another” performed by a justice. She has another ceremony planned for September.

Kaiser told The Associated Press that he asked Ginsburg to officiate because she is a longtime friend.

So at least two, and if we take Justice Ginsburg at her word, three Supreme Court Justices moving forward with the times.

Has anyone else noted that one of those getting married was John Roberts?  Wonder what the Chief Justice thinks about that?
Photograph:  Margo Schulman/Kennedy Center

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