John M. Becker

Sandra Day O'Connor Marries Gay Couple at Supreme Court

Filed By John M. Becker | October 29, 2013 6:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Gay Icons and History, Marriage Equality
Tags: gay marriage, marriage equality, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, same-sex marriage, Sandra Day O'Connor, Supreme Court, Supreme court justice, wedding

sandra_day_oconnor.jpgIn a ceremony at the Supreme Court today, retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor became the second justice in history to officiate at a same-sex wedding.

Bloomberg News reports:

There was no bell tower. Yet at the courthouse where gay Americans have won greater conjugal rights, vows were made today.

And Justice Sandra Day O'Connor presided.

The same-sex wedding conducted at the Supreme Court united Jeffrey Trammell and Stuart Serkin. The retired O'Connor knows Trammell from her days at the College of William & Mary, where she was chancellor and he is rector. The ceremony took place in the lawyer's lounge of the court, according to court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg.

That is just off the courtroom where the sitting justices delivered a pair of 5-4 decisions in June that stopped short of legalizing gay marriage across the country yet struck down a federal law barring benefits for spouses in same-sex marriages.

O'Connor, the first woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court, was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981 and served until her retirement in 2006.

In August, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (O'Connor's former colleague, the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court, and a currently-sitting justice) became the first Supreme Court judge to perform a same-sex wedding. The AP reports that Ginsburg has since officiated at two other same-sex weddings.

Props to Sandra Day O'Connor for following in Ruth Bader Ginsburg's footsteps and standing up for equality. O'Connor sure has come a long way since voting to uphold Georgia's sodomy law in Bowers v. Hardwick (1986) and maintaining in her 2003 Lawrence v. Texas concurrence that sexual orientation shouldn't be included as a protected liberty.

It just goes to show that anyone can evolve on LGBT rights and embrace a fuller understanding of love in all its forms. And it also shows the power of coming out; credit also goes to all those in Justice O'Connor's life -- including Trammell and Serkin -- whose comings-out led her to evolve in this way.

And congratulations to the happy grooms!

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