Guest author Jean Podrasky (image, right,) is a long-time LGBT activist and the cousin of Chief Justice John Roberts. In March, Podrasky was in the Supreme Court during oral arguments for the Prop 8 and DOMA cases.
I am so excited about the Supreme Court rulings today and feel honored to have been a first-hand witness to this historic event. Admittedly, my perspective is that of a Californian with a focus on the fate of Prop 8. People have asked me about the experience of going to the Supreme Court hearings in March and about my feelings on the rulings afterward.
During the “homework” preparation prior to the hearings, I printed out many, many Wikipedia pages on Prop 8 and DOMA for reference. My partner Grace and I were still doing our background reading on the plane ride to Washington D.C. and while shuffling the pages of paper back and forth Grace asked, “By the way, who the hell is Hollingsworth?” I laughed.
I realized that this was probably a question many people didn’t know the answer to and I myself only recently came to know this once I began reading more about Hollingsworth v. Perry. “He’s the one in charge at ProtectMarriage.com,” I said. “Just read the highlights on the Wikipedia page.” I had always called it the “Prop 8 Case” for years. Considering all of the legal maneuverings since 2008, and how the case started to wind through the California courts and through the federal courts, the Prop 8 case changed names constantly. Such is the typical evolution of a long-standing legal battle in the court system.
Regarding the Prop 8 case, I believe that many people feel that throwing the case out on “standing” is a “cop-out” and wonder why the Supreme Court even took this case in the first place. I found myself asking this same question, too, initially. However I truly believe that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg knew exactly what she was doing by siding with throwing the case out on standing. I think her idea was for us to slowly win over public approval before making same-sex marriage legal nationwide, to allow us to win state by state through the legislative process or the ballot box, and later to have the Supreme Court rule on this again in a couple of years.
As to my cousin, Chief Justice John Roberts, I am stunned that he split in the rulings of Prop 8 and DOMA. It has been a surreal experience to know that my cousin played a role in making this milestone decision on the Prop 8 ruling. I am obviously disappointed in the side he took on DOMA, but I will take the split vote.
So my partner asking “Who the hell is Hollingsworth?” was indeed foreshadowing, because that is exactly what the Supreme Court said as well. Hollingsworth, as a private citizen, had no standing to appeal.
All told, this is an incredible step forward for our community. We will continue to fight the battle so that all LGBT people in this country can get married.
But right now, I want to celebrate this moment. And now that we are out of “marriage limbo,” my partner (my fiancé!!) and I are looking forward to finally having the opportunity to plan our wedding.
The New Civil Rights Movement published an extensive profile of Jean Podrasky and her partner Grace Fasano last month: A Conversation With Chief Justice John Roberts’ Cousin, LGBT Activist Jean Podrasky
Image, top: Jean Podrasky, (right,) and her partner, Grace Fasano. Photo by Adam Bouska for the Noh8 Campaign.
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