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Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to conduct gay marriage in Washington, DC

Ceremony believed to be first for a member of the USA’s highest court

US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Credit:

US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will officiate at the same-sex marriage of close friends Michael M Kaiser and John Roberts Aug 31, in what is believed to be a first for a member of the country’s highest court, The Associated Press reports.

The ceremony will take place in Washington, DC, at the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, of which Kaiser is president.  

“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.

Ginsburg says it “won’t be long” before another justice performs a same-sex ceremony, noting that she has a second scheduled in September.

"It's very meaningful, mostly, to have a friend officiate, and then for someone of her stature, it's a very big honor," NBC quotes Kaiser as saying. "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."

As the Supreme Court heard arguments for and against the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) earlier this year, Ginsburg, considered to be a liberal voice on the court, famously characterized DOMA as telling states there’s "full marriage and skim-milk marriage."

In a five-four majority, the court struck down a key DOMA provision, ruling that legally married same-sex couples are entitled to the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples.

The court also reinstated, again by a five-four majority, a lower court ruling that found California’s ban on same-sex marriages unconstitutional and further declared that Prop 8 proponents had no standing to defend the law in federal courts after the state refused to appeal its loss at trial.