Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader
Ginsburg has said the public reaction to a ruling striking down a key
provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) has been positive.
The high court ruled last June that the
federal government could not deny federal benefits to gay and lesbian
couples married in states which recognize such unions, currently 17
plus the District of Columbia. The case was brought by Edith
Windsor, an elderly widow required to pay $363,000 in estate taxes
because the IRS would not recognize her marriage to another woman.
“The reaction to Windsor I
think has been positive from the public,” Ginsburg answered when
asked by The
Wall Street Journal whether she was surprised by the growing
support for marriage equality. “People could understand the
injustice of the way she was treated.”
“I haven't seen a social change that
rapid in – ever. It's just great that people who for years have
been disguising what they were are now free to be what they are.”
“I'm sure you know that years and
years ago Justice [Lewis] Powell said there was never a homosexual
clerk at the Supreme Court. Of course there were. And he had some,”
Almost as soon as Windsor was
announced, marriage equality proponents started filing dozens of
challenges to state marriage bans.
“I think it was an inevitable next
step on the part of people who were trying to promote a greater
understanding,” Ginsburg said of judges who have cited Windsor
in their rulings
invalidating state bans.